We have already looked at the basic steps needed to become a truck driver in the UK. We left you with obtaining some training on driving a lorry, but what are the next steps you need to take?
1. Driving ability test
Having learned to drive a lorry, you need to prove your skills with the driving ability test or CPC part three. When you go for the test, you need to take your licence and must provide a suitable truck. If you have been taking lessons with an instructor, they should provide this.
2. Ability test steps
There are three sections to the ability test: vehicle safety questions; on-road driving, when you will be assessed on your ability to control the vehicle, use the mirrors, deal with hazards etc; and off-road exercises, which will involve things such as reversing into a bay.
3. Practical demonstration test
Having passed your ability test, the next step is the practical demonstration – the final step on the way to getting your CPC. This tests you on your ability to load the vehicle safely, do a vehicle safety check, stop illegal immigrant trafficking, and assess emergency situations. The latter is an important skill, although many vehicles are now monitored by truck camera systems from companies such http://www.backwatch.co.uk/ that record evidence of incidents.
Having qualified to drive a specific class of vehicle, you can, if you wish, go on to qualify to tow a trailer. This is known as a +E entitlement on your driving licence and involves resitting the driving ability test in a vehicle towing a trailer. Note that a +E qualification will not apply to other classes of vehicle; therefore, if you pass +E in a large truck, you are not automatically entitled to tow a trailer in a smaller one.
5. Driver CPC
Once you have passed all the tests and gained your CPC qualification, you will be sent a Driver CPC card. You must carry this with you while driving a lorry or risk a £50 fine.
6. Continuous training
To retain your CPC qualification, you must have 35 hours of CPC training every five years. If you are over 45, you need to renew your licence every five years, while over 65s need to renew their licence every year.