If you are looking to qualify as an HGV driver, there are a number of option open to you. An HGV or Heavy Goods Vehicle is any vehicle over 3,500kg as per EU directive and anyone who wants to drive these vehicles professionally has to be fully trained and in possession of the correct license. However, there is no one type of large goods vehicle (LGV) or HGV license that you can get so you have to pick which kind you want to look at. It is possible to choose between a category C1, C, C and E along with the mandatory Drive CPC.
The Driver CPC stands for the Certificate of Professional Competence and is something that all HGV drivers are going to need to drive professionally. To gain your Driver CPC, you will have to take a 4-part exam which is made up of 2 parts theory and 2 parts practical testing. Once the qualifications have been gained, you will need to complete 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years and submit evidence showing that you have passed medical examinations every 5 years. Failure to do this will result in the Driver CPC being invalid.
The first and basic level of HGV training and licensing is the category C10. This license is considered a step up from a regular UK driving license and allows you to drive vehicles of 3,500kg as long as it is under 7.5 tonnes in gross weight. There are few other limits regarding the form that the vehicle can be such as a truck or a tractor-trailer setup where you tow a trailer. Anyone who has passed their driver’s test before 1997 will automatically have a C1 license. It is important that you check if you are one of these people as this could help you in the long-run.
If you want to drive a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes you will need a category C but the vehicle cannot exceed 32 tonnes. The category C license generally covers any vehicle with a cab and trailer which are permanently fixed together or a standard lorry. While you hold this license, your vehicle should not exceed a weight of 750 kilograms. Most people consider this license as a stepping stone in HGV training as a way to move to category C and E license. To have this license you will need to be over 18 years of age.
Category C and E
The most comprehensive HGV license that you can get is the category C and E license. When you hold this license you will be able to drive and handle articulated or draw bar vehicles. The E section of the category C and E license stands for entitlement and means that the holder is able to drive vehicles to and over 750 kilograms in weight. This type of vehicle is also known as a Class 1 license and will allow the holder to drive any large goods style vehicle when needed including double trailers.
While it is important to note that the status of the licenses does not vary, the details often will and you need to understand this. You should also remember that you need to have a Driver CPC to qualify for any of the HGV licenses and 35 hours of periodic training will need to be completed every 5 years.