Hundreds of truck and bus drivers face losing the right to work if they have not earned a certificate of competence by next month.

From 10 September all professional drivers must have the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) course completed to legally continue working, or face fines ranging from €2,000 to €5,000.

The new regulations have been introduced to comply with European laws designed to change the way professional drivers of trucks and buses are trained.

However, many Irish truck drivers perceive the new regulations as a type of stealth tax, which they say is designed to extract more revenue from the beleaguered industry.

Many drivers are concerned about taking time off work to attend the one-day courses, which must be completed by every professional driver for every year of their working life. "It's going to cost me very dearly," one trucker, who operates on the N7 between Dublin and Limerick, told the Sunday Tribune.

One haulier, who operates between Cork and Belfast daily, said he had already done the course. "It was useless," he said. "It was given by a man who said he had never driven a truck or bus in his life. They were telling us what the best food for a driver to eat is, and how to drive while thinking of the environment. This isn't about safety or better driving, it's about making money."

Vincent Caulfield, president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, told the Sunday Tribune that his association was concerned about the content of the Driver CPC.

"The content is meaningless. Many drivers are disillusioned. We would support anything that promotes safety, but we feel this has definitely been a lost opportunity," said Caulfield.

Brian Farrell, spokesman for the Road Safety Authority, told the Sunday Tribune that the Driver CPC was a European requirement and had been in Ireland for the last three years.