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How to Get a Licence for Driving a Lorry and/or Bus

When considering a job that entails operating large vehicles such as a lorry or bus, there are numerous different things to consider. Even if you have a standard driver’s license, there are many other qualifications that are needed to operate such vehicles. This is due to the nature of these vehicles, being considerably larger and much more difficult to both control and operate on the road. Therefore, extra training is required to make sure drivers can safely handle the challenges that driving a lorry and/or bus can bring.

Through this piece we will be exploring how to get a license for driving a lorry or bus. For more informative articles such as this, why not have a look through Fleet’s Insurance’s list of guides here.

Becoming Qualified

There are multiple things necessary to become a qualified driver for lorries, buses and coaches, all of which are listed below:

  • Have a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
  • Have a car drivers licence
  • Be 18+ years of age (exceptions to this may apply)

Exceptions to being 18 years of age or over to drive such large vehicles can be found here.

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

A Driver Certificate of Professional Competence is a qualification that is required for all professional lorry, bus and coach drivers. Professional drivers must complete 35 hours-worth of training in order to keep their CPC, and this must be done every five years. Those who attempt to drive professionally without a CPC are likely to be fined anything up to and including £1,000.

To obtain a CPC, drivers will typically have to pass a round of 4 different tests, these being as follows:

  • Part 1 of CPC – theory
  • Part 2 of CPC – case studies
  • Part 3 of CPC – driving ability
  • Part 4 of CPC – practical demonstration

These tests must be passed in order to get a Driver CPC with the exception of those who have “acquired rights”. Having such rights will exempt you from having to pass the Driver CPC tests due to existing experience driving such vehicles. Those who have acquired rights have obtained them from a vocational licence dating back to before the dates mentioned below.

Before the date of 10 September 2009 – Lorries

Before the date of 10 September 2008 – Buses and/or coaches

Although those with acquired rights may not need to pass the Driver CPC tests, periodical training is still necessary.

When You Don’t Need a Driver CPC

Even though a Driver CPC is usually a must-have for those wanting to become a qualified lorry, bus or coach driver, there are exceptions.

For those who drive these vehicles as a hobby rather than as a profession do not need the full CPC. This is only applicable when there is strictly no commercial gain. In addition to this, there are other specified situations in which drivers will not require a full CPC, including driving the vehicle to its annual MOT.

Although a full CPC licence is not required for these exceptions, drivers will still have to take the theory (part 1) and driving ability (part 3) tests to legally drive such vehicles on the road.

How to Apply for a Driver CPC

You can apply for a provisional licence for such vehicles on the .gov website. Additionally, potential drivers will have to pass all Driver CPC tests. In order to maintain the validity of the driver’s license, the 35 hours of training must be taken within every 5-year period of having the licence.

More information on licences for driving large vehicles, including how and where to apply, can be found here.

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