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PCV and LGV Vocational Licence Requirements.

Driving passenger carrying or large goods vehicles for hire or reward requires a valid driving licence category and a Certificate of Professional Competence. The CPC Driver Qualification Card or DQC is valid for five years. But how long is a vocational driving licence valid for and what are the requirements?

The third European Directive on driving licences came into force in the UK on the 19th of January 2013. It introduced a common licence type throughout the European Union with harmonised licence categories and entitlement validity dates. For passenger carrying and large goods vehicles, the directive for vocational driving licence categories of D, DE, D1, D1E, C, CE, C1 or C1E, introduced the requirements for medical checks and specific age related renewal periods.

Vocational drivers for LGV and PCV are required to be in reasonably good health. This is a legal requirement and must be demonstrated by the driver taking a medical exam and documented with the provision of a D4 medical examination form downloaded or ordered from the GOV.UK web site:

The two part examination consists of an interview that discusses medical history and existing conditions and a physical examination. Conditions relating to the cardiovascular system, eyesight, neurological problems, etc. are discussed and checked. This will be assessed by the DVLA in order to confirm that the driver is medically fit and safe to drive.

The medical examination will not be required again until the driver reaches the age of 45 and then every 5 years after until the age of 65 when it becomes a requirement every year afterwards.

Up until the age of 45, the driver is required to sign a self-declaration to confirm that they are medically and physically fit to continue driving. This self-assessment is part of the licence renewal each time the PCV or LGV licence expires.

Once a driver passes a test for a PCV or LGV category, see below, the entitlement to drive will expire after 5 years.

CategoryImageTitleDescription
DBusesAny bus designed and constructed
for the carriage of more than eight
passengers in addition to the driver,
with a trailer up to 750kg.
DEBuses with trailersAny bus designed and constructed
for the carriage of more than eight
passengers in addition to the driver,
with a trailer over 750kg.
D1MinibusesVehicles with no more than 16
passenger seats in addition to the
driver and with a maximum length
not exceeding eight metres with a
trailer up to 750kg.
D1EMinibuses with trailersVehicles with no more than 16
passenger seats in addition to
the driver and with a maximum
length not exceeding eight metres
with a trailer over 750kg, provided
that the MAM of the combination
formed does not exceed 12000kg.
CLarge goods vehiclesVehicles over 3500kg with a
trailer up to 750kg, designed and
constructed for the carriage of
no more than eight passengers in
addition to the driver.
CELarge goods vehicles with trailersVehicles over 3500kg designed
and constructed for the carriage
of no more than eight passengers
in addition to the driver with a
trailer over 750kg.
C1Medium sized vehiclesVehicles between 3500kg and
7500kg, designed and constructed
for the carriage of no more than eight
passengers in addition to the driver
with a trailer up to 750kg.
C1EMedium sized vehicles and trailersVehicles between 3500kg and
7500kg with a trailer over 750kg,
designed and constructed for
the carriage of no more than
eight passengers in addition to
the driver – combined weight not
more than 12000kg.

The self-declaration to confirm that the driver is physically fit to drive is part of the D2 or renewal of the licence reminder form, up to the age of 45. The back of the photo card licence will show the licence category entitlement, alongside it is the date that the category expires.

Knowing that a PCV or LGV licence is only valid for 5 years shows how important it is to monitor the entitlement to drive for employed vocational drivers. The added requirements of the European Directives including the Working Time Directive concerning driver hours makes the checking of driving licences imperative in order to avoid any driver with expired licence entitlements, expired DQC and Tacho Driver cards. It has been known for some drivers to neglect to check the expiry of a category and therefore in ignorance drive illegally.

Licence Link, the online licence checking service checks Driver Licence, DQC and Tacho Driver Cards using services supplied by the DVLA. In addition to critical licence expiry alerts, it is supplied with a licence category expiry report, selectable by a range of category expiry dates and Category Codes. The report can be visually checked or exported to a file for interrogation. With this service, vocational PSV and LGV licence requirements can be maintained.

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