Under a European Union Directive, professional drivers of lorries over 3.5 tonnes or Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) with 9 or more seats must usually obtain a Driver CPC in addition to a vocational driving licence. See exemptions below.
New drivers obtain their Driver CPC by passing a series of initial qualification tests with both theory and practical sections. This must be maintained with 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years or the certificate will lapse.
Bus and coach (PCV) drivers who hold a relevant vocational licence (D, D1, D+E and D1+E) gained before 10 September 2008, (including restricted vocational licence D issued after 1991 and D1 issued before 1997) and lorry (LGV) drivers who obtained their licence (C, C1, C+E and C1+E) before 10 September 2009, do not need to take the initial qualification as they are deemed to hold 'acquired rights'. They must still complete periodic training to maintain their Driver CPC.
Driver CPC is not an optional extra, the industry has been given plenty of notice of the deadline and any offences will be reported to the Traffic Commissioner. Driving without the DQC or failing to produce it will carry a maximum fine of £1,000 for both the driver and the operator licence holder.
( Quote from a spokesperson at the Traffic Commissioner's Office.)
New drivers who pass the initial qualification tests will receive a "Driver Qualification Card" (DQC), or alternatively community code 95 is added to the driving licence to show that they hold a Driver CPC.Drivers who have acquired rights receive their DQC when they have completed their first 35 hours of periodic training. Their DQC is valid until 9 September 2018 for PCV drivers, and until 9 September 2019 for LGV drivers. Drivers with licences for both PCV and LGV are covered by one DQC which is valid until 9 September 2019.