HGV Classes Explained: Licence Classes 1, 2 & More
You need different types of driving licences to drive different types of HGVs. HGV classes essentially outline the type of licence you need to drive any given HGV.
In this post we’ll explain what the various HGV classes mean. We’ll also look at some of the licences you’ll need for LGVs, and we’ll then explain some of the other qualifications you might need to drive a commercial vehicle.
HGV CLASS 1 LICENCE
A Class 1 HGV licence enables you to drive a vehicle that weighs 7.5 tonnes or more with a detachable trailer. Another name for a Class 1 licence is a Category C+E licence.
HGV CLASS 2 LICENCE
Like Class 1 licences, Class 2 licences enable you to drive vehicles that weigh 7.5 tonnes or more. The difference is that, while Class 1 licences are for vehicles with detachable trailers, Class 2 licences are for vehicles with rigid body bases where the cab does not separate from the trailer. Another name for a Class 2 licence is a Category C licence.
CATEGORY C1 LICENCE
This licence lets you drive vehicles that weigh more than 3.5 tonnes but less than 7.5 tonnes. If you passed your driving test before 1997, you’ll automatically get a Category C1 licence. But if you passed your test after 1997, you may have to take another test before you get your C1 licence.
CATEGORY C1 + E LICENCE
This lets you drive the same sort of vehicles as a C1 licence. But with a C1 + E licence, you can also tow trailers behind your vehicle. However, the combined weight of your vehicle and trailer must not exceed 12,000 kg.
CATEGORY B + E LICENCE
You’ll need this licence if you want to tow a trailer or a caravan behind a regular car.
CATEGORY D LICENCE
This licence allows you to drive large passenger vehicles such as buses and coaches. A Category D1 licence, on the other hand, allows you to drive a minibus with up to 16 seats.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO DRIVE AN HGV?
All HGV drivers need a Driver CPC (“certificate of professional competence”) qualification. What’s more, you need to take CPC top-up training every five years to prove your ongoing competence behind the wheel.
Getting the Driver CPC requires a long period of testing and training. But if you got your HGV licence before 10 September 2009, then you have “grandfather rights”. This basically means that you don’t need to take the CPC test, but you do have to commit to the ongoing training.
FLEET MANAGERS – DO YOUR DRIVERS HAVE ALL THE QUALIFICATIONS THEY NEED?
HGV classes can be confusing, as even a slight difference in vehicle type or driver circumstance can make a huge difference in the sort of qualification you need. So how can you ensure that your entire fleet remains compliant?