If you’re looking to embark upon a career as a driver, be it HGV or other large road vehicle, then you are going to need a licence. Of course, you already know this – you probably also already know that different road vehicles are categorised in different ways and that you’ll need a licence for the appropriate category before getting behind the wheel as a newly qualified lorry , truck or bus driver.
But do you know which vehicle resides in each category? Or what each category allows? If you do, well, excellent. If however, you’re unsure about the different driving categories in the UK, then read on; we’re about to go through them with you.
Mopeds and Motorcycles
We’ll not dwell on these too much (given we’re an HGV Training Centre!) but our two-wheeled friends have licenced categories of their own.
Mopeds fall under the 3 categories AM, P & Q with each one offering varying levels of engine CC and speed limitation. Similarly with motorcycles there are 3 main categories: A, A1 & A2
So, I’m sure most of us are aware that we can obtain a UK driver’s licence from the age of 17. The licence category for driving a car in Great Britain (Northern Ireland operates slightly differently) is Category B.
A category B licence allows for drivers to operate a vehicle (car) of no more than 8 passengers and weighing no more than 3,500KG. You may also tow a trailer as long as the combined weight doesn’t exceed 3,500Kg.
Medium-Sized Vehicles – Category C
Moving now into the general realm of larger commercial vehicles, Cat C has a number of gradations. C1 allows for a licence holder to operate a vehicle over 3,500Kg but not more than 7,500kg. These could be medium-sized lorries and distribution vehicles of which there is currently a great demand for more in the workplace (with starting salaries up to £25,000 possible).
For older drivers who passed their test before 1st January 1997 it is possible that you already have entitlement to drive C1 vehicle. However, this would be for non-commercial or work related purposes so would require training to become a qualified commercial driver.
Buses & Mini-Buses
To be a fully qualified driver of a full-sized bus you need to obtain the Category D licence through approved training channels. However, for smaller buses, mini-buses and vehicles with up to 16 seats you can drive these if you have the D1 category approved on your licence. If you passed your test before 1st January 1997 it is quite likely that you will have the D1 category approved on your licence to drive a vehicle up to 16 passengers when not doing so for commercial purposes.
HGV / LGV Cat C (Class 2)
No we’re looking at the bigger vehicles on the roads. Class 2 HGVs are what’s known as rigid based vehicles (where the cab and trailer are fixed together) in excess of 7,500Kg and full training and licencing is required before you can operate these. Examples of a Class 2 vehicles would be a fire engine or waste collection vehicle.
HGV / LGV Cat C (Class 1)
Also categorised for vehicles in excess of 7,500Kg as Class 1 licence is required for the operation of any such sized vehicle where the cab and the trailer can be detached. These are your larger freight vehicles; the ones you’ll find rumbling along the motorway on the long haul distribution routes. Again, before you can operate such a vehicle you are required to go through a training process to obtain your licence.
It’s not too bad – because we’re here to help you, every step of the way!