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Getting Started – Initial CPC

If you’re new to the industry, the process for gaining your HGV licence, or any other licence upgrade, can look quite complicated. However we’re here to help!

Driver Hire Training can provide all the training you need to gain your HGV licence, from theory and practical tests to your ongoing Driver CPC. Plus, we’re happy to answer your questions at any stage in the process, if you need support.

What’s involved

To get you started, here’s a step-by-step guide to the basics of gaining a new LGV licence:

  1. Attend medical (D4 form)
  2. Apply for your provisional licence (D2 form)
  3. Undertake the four tests to gain your licence and Driver CPC
    • Theory test (Module 1)
    • Driver CPC training (Module 2)
    • Practical exam (Module 3 – 20 hours split over 5 days)
    • Driver CPC training (Module 4)
  4. Apply for a digital tachograph card (D779 form)

The process may differ depending on your existing licence entitlement. A broadly similar set of steps applies for PCV licences.

For more information on what licence acquisition training involves for each licence category, and any ongoing requirements, take a look at each course within our Courses pages.

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The modules in more detail

Module 1 – Theory Test

This is similar to the car driving test, but specific to the licence category you are acquiring. You can book this test as soon as you have your provisional licence. The test is in two parts:

  • Multiple choice theory test
    • Lasts just under two hours, with a pass mark of 85 out of 100 questions
  • Hazard perception test
    • Consisting of 19 videos, with 20 developing hazards to spot. 67 out of 100 marks to pass

Module 2 – Case Study

Case study. You will be presented with 7 scenarios, which you must review and answer a series of questions, based on what you have learned. The test lasts 75 minutes and you must score 40 out of 50 marks to pass. You need your pass reference number to book your Module 4 test.

Module 3 – Practical Driving Test

Lasting around an hour and a half, this is where you get to demonstrate the skills you have learned in the relevant vehicle category. You may have no more than 15 driver faults and no serious or dangerous faults during your test.

As well as the basic drive, you will be asked some vehicle safety questions and a reversing exercise. If using a trailer you’ll also need to demonstrate that you can correctly and safely hitch and unhitch the trailer.

Module 4 – Practical Demonstration

In this final test, the examiner will ask you a series of questions to demonstrate your all-round practical knowledge and skill. These will cover information about the vehicle and wider roadcraft, as well as best practice for personal safety, illegal immigration and other important issues.

To pass, you need to score at least 15 out of 20 in each topic area and an overall score of 80%.

Initial vs Periodic Driver CPC Training

You may hear people referring to the initial vs periodic Driver CPC training. The difference is actually quite simple.

Initial CPC

These are part of your initial driving licence qualification (hence the name). In fact, modules 2 and 4 form the Initial CPC and completing these earns you the Driver Qualification Card (DQC) that allows you to drive commercially.

It’s possible to gain an HGV licence without completing modules 2 and 4 if you are not going to be driving commercially – this may be the case for members of the armed forces, for example – but if you do not have your DQC and you then drive commercially, you’re breaking the law.

Happily you can ‘top up’ your LGV licence by completing modules 2 & 4 without having to take a full new test, and Driver Hire can help!

Periodic Training

Ongoing Driver CPC training is a legal obligation for all professional drivers of vehicles in categories C, C1, C1+E, C+E (plus equivalent PCV licences). You are required to undertake 35 hours of ‘periodic training’ every five years, to keep your Driver Qualification Card valid.

Again, driving commercially without a valid DQC is illegal and could have serious consequences for both the driver and the transport operator, including fines, driving bans and operational restrictions. However, once again, Driver Hire Training can help.

Click here to find out more about our periodic Driver CPC training services.

We hope this quick guide has been useful to you. If you’re considering buying training from Driver Hire, or if you’re already in the process, remember you can contact us for support if you need it.

Driver jargon and terminology

If you’re completely new to the wonderful world of commercial driving and logistics, you may hear some of these words being used to describe the type of work professional drivers carry out. Here are just a few examples…

  • Sleeper cab – HGV vehicle that includes a bed so you can sleep in your vehicle whilst working away (includes a bunk / sleeping compartment). Day cab is a short cab without this compartment
  • Tramper / Tramping – A ‘Tramper Driver’ is a driver who travels in his/her Heavy Goods Vehicle on overnight stays. This type of work is usually long-distance driving and typically called ‘Tramping’
  • Shunter / Shunting – A vehicle used in a yard specifically to manoeuvre trailers
  • Hand balling – Loose cargo that is manhandled
  • ADR – These initials relate to the French name for a European treaty* that governs the carriage of dangerous goods by road. Drivers carrying such goods must obtain a Dangerous Goods Vocational Licence. (In full, the Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par Route)
  • Tanker – A semi-trailer designed for the transportation of liquid, usually flammable liquids such as fuel, or food substances like milk
  • Tractor (or tractor unit) – The prime mover for pulling semi-trailers
  • Low loader – A semi-trailer with a low deck to carry heavy machinery
  • Artic / articulated vehicle – A vehicle towing a trailer

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