If you intend to become a professional HGV driver, you should know that you have multiple options. In accordance with the EU directive, Heavy Goods Vehicles are the ones that weigh more than 3,500kg, and you can’t drive one unless you are fully trained and you have an adequate licence. As there are several types of HGV or LGV licences, let’s see what are your options.
Driver CPC stands for Certificate of Professional Competence and all HGV drivers need to have one. In order to gain your Driver CPC, you have to undergo a 4-part examination in which two parts consist from theory and the other two from practical testing. Once you pass your examination, you’ll need 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years in order to maintain it valid. In addition, you’ll have to submit evidence that you pass medical examinations every 5 years.
Category C1 is the basic level that grants you permission to drive a 3,500 kg vehicle. There aren’t restrictions related to the shape and size of the vehicle. It can be a lorry, a truck or a tractor trailer setup in which you row your trailer. This licence is only one step up from a regular UK licence and everyone who passed their driver’s test before 1997 automatically qualifies for category C1 as well.
A category C licence allows you to drive vehicles that weigh over 3.5 tonnes but less than 32 tonnes. Also known as Class 2, category C licences usually cover a “standard lorry”. With this licence, you won’t be allowed to drive any vehicle heavier than 750 kg. This is one of the important milestones in your HGV training, as you have to pass it, if you want to move on to category C and E. As a matter of fact, you may even want to stop your evolution here, should you only need to drive this type of vehicles. This licence is available only to people over 18 years of age.
A category C and E licence is the ultimate HGV licence. It allows drivers to drive and handle a draw bar or articulated vehicle. The E part means that the bearer of this driver’s licence may drive vehicles over 7.5 tonnes in weight. Also known as Class 1, this licence allows drivers to drive any type of HGV, including double trailers. It is indeed the most comprehensive of all licences.
Above everything else, you should be aware that you must have your Driver CPC to qualify for any of these licences. This means you have to complete your 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years.