Are Grandfather Rights still Valid, and Their Impact on You?


Individuals interested in transitioning to an HGV driver role should familiarise themselves with grandfather rights, also referred to as acquired rights. These exemptions are tied to the timing of one’s HGV driving or vocational test success. It is crucial to note that even acquired rights necessitate ongoing adherence when operating professionally. Let’s delve into the specific grandfather rights associated with HGV driving and their practical implications in the driving profession before you get HGV training.

Key Changes

Although there have been numerous adjustments to driving licence classifications, criteria, and procedures over time, two significant dates stand out for HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) drivers – January 1997 and September 2009. An examination of the modifications that occurred during these periods and their implications on driving privileges in today’s industry will be conducted.

January 1997

Since the beginning of 1997, the United Kingdom implemented the EU unified licence system, where the previous HGV classifications of 1, 2, and 3 were consolidated into categories C and C+E. Additionally, category C1 was introduced as a subsidiary classification. Existing licence holders were automatically granted category C+E authorization since category C encompassed the former classes 2 and 3, allowing experienced trailer vehicle drivers to continue their operations without disruption. Nevertheless, a restriction was imposed on the trailer capacity, specifying drawbar trailers. Individuals who obtained their standard driving licence before 1997 were granted category C1 and C1+E in their entitlements automatically. However, a restriction on the C1+E provision limits the total weight of the combined vehicle and trailer to 8250kg under these circumstances. It is evident that these allowances do not grant car drivers the authorization to operate vehicles professionally.

September 2009

Specific changes related to the training of professional HGV drivers took place in September 2009, introducing the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). This certification is mandatory for all newly licensed professional drivers operating vehicles in category C1 and above. Individuals who obtained their vocational license before September 2009 are exempt from the initial CPC course, as their driving expertise is deemed sufficient to cover the course content. Nevertheless, all drivers, irrespective of their licensing date, must adhere to the same periodic training requirements for CPC, currently set at 35 hours over a 5-year span.

Cost Per Click with Initial Entitlements

Misunderstanding may arise regarding grandfather rights exempting individuals from CPC obligations. Nonetheless, contrary to common belief, this exemption solely pertains to the initial CPC training and qualification. Subsequently, all professional drivers must engage in periodic training to maintain their driver qualification card (DQC).

Exploring the Definition of DQC

The Driver Qualification Card (DQC) is evidence of having fulfilled the mandatory periodic training essential for upholding your CPC status. Individuals entitled under grandfather rights receive their DQC upon finishing the initial 35-hour training phase. Subsequently, the obligation to uphold the professional driving qualification continues. It is imperative for all drivers to have their DQC in possession during work. Operating professionally without the card may result in a £50 fixed penalty. In cases of loss or damage, an immediate replacement request costing £25 is necessary. Fortunately, drivers are permitted to continue professional driving activities while awaiting the arrival of the replacement card.

Ongoing CPC training

The necessity of adhering to the 35-hour driver training requirement spread over 5 years is essential for all professional drivers. The training encompasses various topics such as digital and analog tachographs, working time regulations, safe loading & restraints, breakdowns, first aid, and driver health and well-being. The training can be conducted in a traditional classroom setting or through online platforms, including seminars post-pandemic. Each module should span 7 hours and can be completed within 2 consecutive days.

Lapsed CPC training

Failure to fulfil 35 hours of continuous training within a 5-year timeframe will result in a prohibition from engaging in professional driving until the training requirement is met. Driving an HGV professionally post-expiration of your driver qualification card without completing the mandatory 35 hours of training can lead to a fine of up to £1,000. Upon successful completion of the training, the renewed driver qualification card (DQC) will be effective immediately after the training is finalised.

Are Grandfather Rights a Permanent Fixture?

While the relevance of existing grandfather rights may diminish over time, the concept of acquired rights will persist due to the constant modifications and advancements in regulations. The key rationale behind the existence and perpetuation of grandfather rights is to safeguard the presence of experienced professional drivers in the industry. This practice guarantees that despite any alterations in HGV driving regulations, a level of stability is upheld for the current workforce.

Upcoming changes

In 2023, there is a current government review of driving licence rules. The review includes suggestions such as adjustments to the driver CPC and less frequent periodic testing. Additionally, there is a proposed modification to allow all drivers to drive vehicles weighing up to 7,500kg, falling under the C1 category. It is crucial to note that drivers operating commercial vehicles in the C1 category or higher must adhere to the driver CPC or its equivalent as per the revised regulations.

Ensuring that you possess and uphold the appropriate training certifications is undoubtedly a crucial aspect of being a professional Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) driver.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *