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The professional driving permit (PrDP)

Unlike the old public driving permit (PDP), which was only required by drivers of public carrier vehicles, the professional driving permit (PrDP) is also required by drivers employed by companies carrying their own goods.

Drivers of the following vehicles must hold a licence card, endorsed with an appropriate PrDP.

* heavy goods vehicle, loaded or empty, (codes C1, C, EC1 and EC)

* breakdown vehicle

* bus above 3 500 kg GVM (codes C1, C, EC1 and EC)

* bus or minibus with seating for more than 12 including the driver

* taxi or other vehicle carrying paying passengers (eg an ambulance)

* vehicle carrying more than 12, including the driver, whether or not it has enough seats and irrespective of its weight.

There are three categories of PrDP signified on the licence further restricting authorization.

Category G
tricted to goods vehicles (non dangerous) and breakdown vehicles. The driver must be at least 18 years old.

Category P
For buses seating more than 12 passengers, taxis and any vehicle carrying more than 12. It also permits the driving of G category vehicles. The driver must be at least 21 years old.

Category D
For vehicles transporting dangerous goods. It also permits the driving of category G and P vehicles. The driver must be at least 25 years old.

There are few exemptions to the rule. It also applies to those bus drivers who did not need PDPs, just because they happened to be employed by a local authority and ambulance drivers carrying paying passengers. Even those who only drive these vehicles occasionally, such as management, truck salesmen and diesel mechanics taking a vehicle for a test drive, need to have a PrDP.

The exemptions are

* a traffic officer or vehicle examiner, doing their job

* a hearse

* a tractor

* fire-fighting vehicles

* special vehicles such as road construction and farming equipment

* a learner driver accompanied by the holder of a valid PrDP

Even if accompanied by a PrDP holder, a qualified driver who’s PrDP has expired is not exempt.

for further information consult pages 18 to 24 in the Professional Driver's Digest > or consult the A3 miniCHART >.