There are a lot of paths you can take when it comes to qualifying as a Heavy Goods Vehicle driver. Anyone that hopes to operate vehicles of that ilk on a professional basis requires rigorous training and an adequate licence. There are several different forms of HGV and LGV licences however, allowing you to pick and choose which you’re best suited for.
1 – Driver CPC
Driver Certificate Of Professional Competence is a standard qualification that all potential HGV drivers must meet if they intend to drive on a pro basis. To obtain your Driver CPC, you’ll need to participate in a four part exam that consists of equal amounts of practical testing and theory. Once you’ve been granted the qualification, you’ll also need to go through over 30 hours of training every 5 years. The validity of your Driver CPC relies upon being able to pass all examinations from that point forward.
2 – Category C1
Category C1 is the most basic form of HGV training you can aim for after your Driver CPC. The licence is akin to the regular UK driver’s licence, merely one step up. It will grant you the ability to drive Heavy Goods Vehicles as long as their gross weight is lighter than 7.5 tonnes. There aren’t many limits regarding the vehicle’s form; tractor trailers, trucks and lorries all apply. It’s also worth noting that any driver that passed their initial test before 1997 has a C1 class licence by default, so be sure to double check that date if you’re interested in HGV driving.
3 – Category C
Category C licences give access to vehicles that are over 3.5 tonnes. There’s a limit of 32 tonnes in gross weight however. Category C licences are also referred to as Class 2 in some instances. This classification is typically reserved for vehicles that have their cab and trailer permanently attached. The obvious example is the standard lorry. The vehicle weight itself is limited to under 750 kilograms. Many see a Category C licence as a stepping stone that helps bridge the gap towards a Category C & E. It must also be noted that only adults 18 years and older are applicable.
4 – Category C & E
Finally, the Category C & E is a highly comprehensive form of HGV licence. With this classification, you will be given the right to operate draw bar or articulated vehicles. The E in the title represents “entitlement” and this allows for vehicles that are over 750 kilograms to be driven. You might also see this type of licence being referred to as Class 1. All types of large goods vehicles are covered by it, including double-wide trailers.
Each license’s status is fairly set in stone, but the particulars can vary at times. As such, make sure you do your research in order to keep informed.