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Driver CPC Initial Qualification

Despite an unwavering insistence in the lead-up to the September 2014 deadline, the Government have now relented in the face of a nationwide driver shortage to allow drivers to bypass periodic training and acquire their first Driver Qualification Card (DQC) via the Driver CPC initial qualification.

But what does this actually mean for you?

The change allows drivers who possessed acquired rights and did not complete 35 hours of periodic training before the September 2014 deadline to sit modules two and four of the initial qualification. Module two consists of a computer-based theory case study and module four is a practical vehicle safety demonstration. Upon completion of both these modules, your DQC will be issued and you’ll be qualified to drive professionally for the next five years.

Straight forward, right? Not quite.

As much as there are cost benefits of completing module two and four instead of periodic training – an approximate figure would be around the £150 mark – this route is exam-based with no guarantee of passing. Indeed, the pass rate for module two is only 43% meaning roughly 3 out of every 5 people will require at least one resit. The other issue that many people are reporting is difficulty in booking module four with training providers due to unavailable suitable vehicles – given the option, providers are far more likely to send a vehicle out on the road to train new drivers rather than keep it in the yard for module four candidates to perform a walk-round check.

However, should you be fortunate enough to book your module four examination within a reasonable timeframe, we are going to detail some of the types of questions that you could encounter.

The questions will cover five topics covered within the Driver CPC syllabus, namely:

  • Ability to load a vehicle with due regard for safety
  • Securing the vehicle and its contents
  • Ability to prevent criminality and trafficking of illegal immigrants
  • Ability to assess emergency situations
  • Ability to prevent physical risk

In order to pass, you must score at least 75% in each topic. Some of the questions may include:

Demonstrate how you would check for air leaks in your vehicle.

You should explain that you’d turn the ignition on and charge the air tanks before consulting the dashboard gauges to check for any drops in air pressure. To complete your check, you would walk around the vehicle listening for any obvious leaks. You could also explain that you would apply the footbrake fully after switching the engine off and listen for any hissing which would indicate a leak.

What are the main safety factors involved in loading your vehicle?

You should ensure that your load is evenly distributed throughout the length of the vehicle and not overloaded on any one axle. You can explain that you’d visually assess the vehicle from behind to ensure it wasn’t leaning to one side which would indicate poor loading. The load must also be securely stowed within the size and weight limits for the vehicle – these limits can be found on the plating certificate which can usually be found on the driver’s door. Finally, the load has to be secure so it cannot slide or fall when cornering or braking.

Tell me how you would check your tyres to ensure that they are correctly inflated, have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.

You would consult the manufacturer’s guide and check or adjust pressures when the tyres are cold – “cold” means that they have not been used in the last two hours, “hot” tyres can give inaccurate pressure readings. Tyres must have tread depth of at least 1mm across 3/4 of the breadth of the tread and in a continuous band around the entire circumference. There should be no cuts, damage or signs of cord visible at the sidewalls of the tyres.

Identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that there is sufficient oil.

If this question arises, you don’t have to physically check for oil – you only have to explain how you would do it. Firstly, you’d identify the dipstick and oil level indicator before describing that you would check the oil level against the markers on the stick. Easy!

Show me how you would check that the power assisted steering is working.

Should the steering become heavy, it could be an indication that the system isn’t working. You can either apply gentle pressure on the steering wheel whilst starting the engine which should result in a slight movement or simply turn the wheel just after moving off to ensure the steering isn’t abnormally heavy.

For a full list of the possible questions, please click here.

It is extremely important to be enthusiastic, animated almost, when answering the questions – be thorough and actually physically demonstrate how you would carry out the task at hand. Lethargically responding “I’d check that…” and “I’d check this…” is a sure-fire way of ensuring you don’t pass.

You may also be asked how you would select an appropriate restraining device for a specific load and how you would use it. There are four devices that could be used – ratchet straps, chains, a tension bar or ropes. This video explains how to use all the possible devices.

If you are sitting your module four examination soon, good luck! If you require any advice on your training requirements, please feel free to get in touch with us today.