We have had several queries from potential drivers, especially younger ones and those from other countries, who are confused when they see adverts for HGV Class 1 drivers and do not know if their licences are relevant. Can you clear up the confusion?

Q

We have had several queries from potential drivers, especially younger ones and those from other countries, who are confused when they see adverts for HGV Class 1 drivers and do not know if their licences are relevant. Can you clear up the confusion?

A

The term “HGV” (for heavy goods vehicle) was replaced in the UK for licensing purposes on 1 January 1997 by “LGV” (large goods vehicle) when the old GB licence Groups, including HGV1, HGV2 and HGV3, were replaced by the new harmonised EU categories. Similarly, the HGV Class 1, 2 and 3 licences became category C and CE. Many of the other licence groups were also changed including the private car Group A, which became category B.

To make things slightly more complicated, in addition to the change in terminology, the types of vehicles allowed to be driven under the new categories were not the same as under the old groups. Of particular relevance is that the former Group A licence entitled anyone who had passed the driving test in a car to drive a goods vehicle up to 7.5t gross weight. With the change to category B, this limit was reduced for new drivers to 3.5t and a new subcategory C1 introduced to cover the gap between 3.5 and 7.5t. The trailer category (category E) was also introduced, requiring all new drivers wishing to tow a trailer over 750kg gross weight (whether articulated or drawbar) to pass an additional test.

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