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The Driver CPC And Grandfather Rights Explained

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“Grandfather rights” may seem like a strange term if you’ve never come across it before, but it’s hugely important when it comes to CPC and driving. The Driver CPC is an essential qualification for all HGV drivers – but did you know that some drivers don’t actually hold the physical qualification? These are the drivers who were on the road long before the CPC was invented, and so they qualify for something called ‘grandfather rights’. Today, we want to talk about what that means, and how it could affect you.

What Is The Driver CPC?

In the past we’ve talked a lot about what the Driver CPC is and what goes into gaining it. But to save you going back and trawling through our blogs, here’s a little refresher. Driver CPC stands for ‘Certificate of Professional Competence’, and has been a requirement for all HGV and LGV drivers since 2009. Every new driver past this date has had to go through rigorous training and testing to prove they are capable of driving a HGV to a professional standard, before then going on to qualify for a licence in a category of their choice. It originally came from an EU directive, but passed into UK law very quickly and is now the standard. It involves training, medical exams and testing, along with top-up training to be completed every 5 years.

Who Needs One?

Pretty much anyone who drives a HGV or LGV in a professional capacity. It does break down a little more though.

If you’re a large goods vehicle driver and you gained your licence prior to 10th September 2009, then you have Grandfather/acquired rights. This applies to Cat C, C1, C+E and C1+E licences. If you gained a bus or coach driver and gained your licence D, D1, D+E or D1+E before 10th September 2008, you also apply for Grandfather/acquired rights.

Everybody else needs to fulfil the requirements for a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence to legally be allowed on the road as a professional driver of goods and passenger vehicles.

But there is a catch. If you’re a driver who is protected under grandfather rights, you might not have to do the test, but you do have to do the training part. This means you need to undertake at least 35 hours of training through an approved training provider every 5 years, just to prove you are still safe behind the wheel and keep you up to date on any changes to regulations or safety procedures. So don’t celebrate just yet – you still need to do some work!

So Why Do Grandfather Rights Matter?

Grandfather rights, in this case, are what stopped the haulage industry from grinding to a halt – and we’re not being dramatic here. If it weren’t for grandfather rights, every driver on the road in 2009 would have had to stop driving in order to do the training and take the tests for a Driver CPC. Every. Single. One. That means no one would be transporting goods around the country and abroad, and our economy would have been damaged beyond repair.

So instead, we have grandfather rights. This allowed all drivers who were already on the road and driving to carry on working. They didn’t need to stop to do the qualification, as their past experience covered them. Instead, they just had to complete their 25 hours training every 5 years to stay up to date. Only new drivers needed to do the CPC in full, which was built into their training. This meant no drivers were lost and the industry could carry on as normal.

What Happens If You Don’t Train?

So, now we’re in 2019, what does it mean if you don’t do your Driver CPC? Well, in simple terms it means you can’t be a professional HGV driver. Driving without a valid CPC is a crime, and could earn you some nasty fines and even prison time. But if you qualify for grandfather rights, then you don’t need to worry! Just apply for grandfather rights status, or even earn your Driver CPC from scratch.

At The HGV Training Company, we believe that everyone should get the chance to follow their dream, whatever it happens to be. If you’ve always wanted to be a HGV driver, then we can help you get there. We can guide you through the process of applying for grandfather rights, or we can help you through your training and get your licence the modern way. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with us today.

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