Thinking Of Becoming An HGV Driver?
Written by Jessie Lee & Reviewed by Peter Howitt
If you are considering becoming an HGV driver in the UK and are curious about the requirements and procedures involved, then this is the blog for you, you should read on to find out more.
In this blog, we are going to share some useful information about HGV driving and HGV training, and what it takes to become an HGV driver in the UK in a step-by-step guide.
However, before we dive into how to become an HGV driver, let’s take a look at the types of HGV lorries, the HGV licence classes, and the roles of a professional HGV driver.
What Does an HGV Driver Do?
An HGV driver is a professional who operates a large goods vehicle (LGV) or heavy goods vehicle (HGV). These vehicles are typically over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) and are used to transport goods over long distances.
HGV lorry drivers are responsible for the safe and efficient operation of their vehicles, as well as the loading and unloading of goods. They may also be responsible for planning routes, managing paperwork, and dealing with customers.
HGV drivers are in high demand in the UK, as they play a vital role in the transportation of goods. The job can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding.
What Are The Different Types Of HGV Lorries And Licences?
There are different types of HGV/LGV lorries in the UK, and the licence you need to drive them depends on the weight and type of lorry.
- Category C1 licence: This licence allows you to drive lorries that weigh between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes.
- Category C licence: This licence allows you to drive lorries that weigh more than 7.5 tonnes.
- Category C+E licence: This licence allows you to drive articulated lorries, which are lorries that are made up of a tractor unit or rigid vehicle towing a trailer.
If you are unsure of which licence you need to drive a particular type of HGV lorry, you should consult with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
The below table shows the different types of HGV lorries and the licence you need to drive them:
|Type of HGV lorry||Weight||Licence required|
|Rigid lorry, 3.5-7.5 tonnes||3.5-7.5 tonnes||Category C1|
|Rigid lorry, over 7.5 tonnes||Over 7.5 tonnes||Category C|
|Articulated lorry/Draw-Bar Combination||Over 7.5 tonnes||Category C+E|
|Lorry transporting hazardous materials||Varies||Licence + Specialist Qualification (ADR)|
|Lorry transporting livestock||Varies||Licence + Specialist Training|
|Lorry transporting construction materials||Varies||Licence + Specialist Training|
What Are The Requirements To Become An Commercial HGV Lorry Driver?
The minimum requirements to become a Commercial HGV lorry driver in the UK are as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must have a full UK driving licence.
- You must be medically fit to drive an HGV and undertake an HGV medical examination, which is carried out by a doctor who is approved by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
- You must have a provisional licence for the category of goods vehicle you wish to drive.
- You must pass an HGV theory test. (Driver CPC part 1)
- You must pass an HGV Hazard Perception test. (Driver CPC part 1)
- You must pass an HGV off road test. (Driver CPC part 3a)
- You must pass an HGV practical on road test. (Driver CPC part 3b)
- You must have a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) to drive commercially.
If you meet all of these requirements, you can then apply for a job as an HGV lorry driver. There are many different logistics companies and agencies that hire HGV drivers, so you should be able to find a job that suits your needs and interests.
What Are The Additional Requirements For Certain Types Of HGV Lorries?
Note that there are additional requirements for certain types of HGV lorries, such as those that transport hazardous materials or livestock. These requirements are designed to ensure the safety of the driver, the public, and the environment.
For example, dangerous goods vehicle drivers (ADR – which stands for Accord Dangereux Routier and is not to be confused with our company name!) are drivers that transport hazardous materials and must be trained in the safe handling of these materials.
They must also be familiar with the routes they will be taking and the emergency procedures that should be followed in the event of an accident.
Similarly, drivers of lorries that transport livestock must also be trained in the safe handling of these animals. They must be familiar with the needs of the animals and the regulations that govern their transportation.
Now you understand the different types of HGV classes and the HGV driver’s roles, let’s get into the step-by-step guide to obtaining your HGV driver’s licence.
Step 1: Check Eligibility
The first step to becoming a lorry driver is to check if you are eligible, you must meet some criteria that we have mentioned above, such as:
- you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid UK driving license.
- You must also meet the medical standards set by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).
- You will need to complete a medical examination to ensure that you are fit to drive.
Step 2: Choose The HGV Licence
There are different categories of HGV licences, depending on the type of vehicle you want to drive. The categories are:
- Category C1 allows you to drive vehicles weighing between 3,500 and 7,500 kg with or without a trailer weighing up to 750 kg.
- Category C1+E allows you to drive vehicles weighing between 3,500 and 7,500 kg but with a trailer weighing above 750 kg.
- Category C allows you to drive vehicles weighing over 3,500 kg and a trailer weighing up to 750 kg.
- Category C+E allows you to drive a vehicle weighing over 3,500 kg and a trailer weighing above 750 kg.
Step 3: Apply for a Provisional HGV Licence
To apply for a provisional HGV license, you will need to:
- Order the D2 and D4 forms from the DVLA. The D2 form is the application form, and the D4 form is the medical form.
- Fill out the D2 form. You will need to provide your personal information, such as your name, address, and date of birth. You will also need to provide information about your previous driving experience.
- Get your medical form, D4, arrange an appointment for an HGV medical and have the form completed and signed by a doctor. The doctor will need to certify that you are fit to drive an HGV.
- Send the completed forms and a passport-style photo to the DVLA.
- Once you have submitted your application, the DVLA will process it and send you a provisional HGV licence.
Step 4: Pass the Theory Test
Once you have a provisional HGV licence, you need to pass the theory test.
The HGV theory test is a two-part test that you must pass in order to obtain an HGV license. The first part of the test is a multiple-choice test that covers a wide range of topics, such as road safety, driving regulations, and vehicle safety.
The second part of the test is a hazard perception test that assesses your ability to identify and respond to potential hazards on the road.
Driver CPC Part 1 Test: Theory
The Driver CPC Part 1 Theory Test is a multiple-choice test that covers a wide range of topics, including:
- Road safety
- Vehicle safety
- Driving operations
- Economic and environmental aspects of driving
- Professional competence
The test consists of 100 questions, and you must answer 85 questions correctly to pass. The test is taken on a computer, and you have 1 hour to complete it.
Driver CPC Part 1 Test: Hazard Perception
The Driver CPC Part 1 Hazard Perception test consists of 19 interactive video clips and the pass mark is 67 from a 100.
Here are some tips to help you pass the HGV theory test:
- Study the theory test materials. There are a number of resources available to help you study for the theory test, such as books, websites, and apps.
- Take practice tests. There are a number of practice tests available online and in books. Taking practice tests will help you get used to the format of the test and the types of questions that are asked.
- Get plenty of rest the night before the test. Being well-rested will help you focus and perform your best on the test.
- Arrive at the test centre early. This will give you time to relax and collect your thoughts before the test begins.
- Read the instructions carefully before you begin the test. This will help you avoid making any mistakes.
- Take your time and answer the questions carefully.
- Pay attention to the hazard perception test. The hazard perception test is timed, so it is important to pay attention to the videos and identify the hazards as soon as possible.
- Don’t give up if you don’t pass the test on your first try. The HGV theory test is a challenging test, but it is definitely possible to pass it with the right preparation.
Once you have obtained a provisional HGV licence and passed the Driver CPC Part 1 tests (Theory and Hazard Perception) you will be able to drive an HGV with the supervision of a qualified driver or an instructor.
Step 5: Pass The Practical Driving Test
After the theory test, you will also need to pass a practical driving test. The test will assess your ability to drive a lorry safely and efficiently. There are two tests, the Driver CPC Part 3a Test: Off-Road Exercises and Driver CPC Part 3b Test: On-Road Driving
Driver CPC Part 3a Test: Off-Road Exercises
The Driver CPC Part 3a Test is a practical test that assesses your ability to drive a lorry safely and efficiently off-road. The test consists of a series of exercises, such as:
- Manoeuvring in confined spaces
- Coupling and uncoupling an articulated or drawbar vehicle
The test is taken on a specially designed off-road course at the DVSA Test Centre or DVSA Approved Training Centre.
Driver CPC Part 3b Test: On-Road Driving
The Driver CPC Part 3b Test is a practical test that assesses your ability to drive a lorry safely and efficiently on the road. The test consists of a series of exercises, such as:
- Driving safely to a high standard
- Showing expert handling of the controls
- Use of mirrors and appropriate signalling
- Obeying the road signs and instructions.
The test is taken on a public road, and you have 1 hour to complete it.
Driver CPC Part 2 & Part 4 Test
The Driver CPC is a qualification that all professional lorry drivers must have in order to drive commercially. As we have already discussed the Part 1 and Part 3 tests above, now we will take a look at Part 2 and Part 4 Driver CPC modules.
Driver CPC Part 2 Test: Case Studies
The Driver CPC Part 2 Case Studies Test is a series of 7 case studies that test your ability to apply the knowledge you have learned in the theory test to real-world situations.
Each case study presents you with a scenario and a set of questions. You must answer the questions in order to demonstrate your understanding of the situation and your ability to make safe and professional decisions. The test is taken on a computer, and you have 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete it.
Driver CPC Part 4 Test: Practical Demonstration
The Driver CPC Part 4 test can only be taken once you have passed the Driver CPC Part 2 test. Both tests can be taken prior to passing the HGV Practical driving tests (3a & 3b)
The Driver CPC Part 4 Test: is a practical demonstration test where you need to show to a DVSA approved examiner your proficiency in the following areas :
being able to:
- load the vehicle following safety rules and to keep it secure
- stop trafficking in illegal immigrants
- assess emergency situations
- reduce physical risks to yourself or others
- do a walkaround vehicle safety check
The test is made up of 5 topics from the Driver CPC syllabus. You can score up to 20 points for each topic. To pass you have to score at least 15 out of 20 in each topic area and have an overall score of at least 80 out of 100.
How Much Will The Driver CPC Cost?
The below table shows the prices to book your tests with DVSA using the official service. (Your part 3a test may cost up to £40 if you choose to take it with an approved test provider instead of with DVSA.)
|Driver CPC Costs|
and bank holiday
|Driver CPC part 1 –|
theory – (multiple-choice)
|Driver CPC part 1 –|
theory – (hazard perception)
|Driver CPC part 2 –|
|Driver CPC part 3a –|
|Driver CPC part 3b –|
|Driver CPC part 4 –|
Please note these are the charges to DVSA for the tests only. Training providers will charge more for training and the use of their vehicle for instance.
Step 6: Getting Driver CPC Qualification Card
Once you’ve qualified, you’ll be sent a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card. This is sometimes called a ‘driver qualification card’ or ‘DQC’.
Note that you must carry your Driver CPC card while driving an HGV professionally, otherwise, you can get a penalty for driving professionally without your card.
You will also need to apply for a digital driver tachograph card to store information about your daily driving work.
Step 7: Apply For Jobs and Gain Experience
Once you have obtained your HGV licence, you may need to gain experience by working as a trainee driver or as a newly qualified driver. This will help you gain practical experience and develop your skills and confidence as a commercial HGV driver.
Here are a few tips to help you find a job as a newly qualified HGV driver:
- Speak to your HGV training provider.
Many HGV training institutes have relationships with trucking companies and can help you find a job after you have completed your training.
- Contact the companies directly.
You can contact logistics companies directly to inquire about job openings. You can find contact information for logistics companies online or in trade publications.
- Use job boards and social media.
There are a number of online job boards and social media platforms that list HGV driver jobs, or visit the Government website to find an HGV job in your area. You can use these resources to find job openings and to network with other HGV drivers.
- Apply to multiple companies.
The more companies you apply to, the better your chances of finding a job. Be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to each company you apply to.
What Are The Benefits Of Being An HGV Driver?
There are many benefits to being an HGV driver. Some of the most common benefits include:
- Good salaries: HGV lorry drivers typically earn good salaries, which can be even higher if you are self-employed.
- Opportunities for career progression: There are many opportunities for career progression in the HGV industry, from driving to management.
- The chance to travel: HGV lorry drivers often have the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country or indeed the world.
- A sense of satisfaction from a job well done: HGV lorry drivers play an important role in the economy, and they can take pride in knowing that they are helping to keep the country running.
- Flexibility: HGV lorry drivers often have the flexibility to choose their own hours and routes. This can be a great benefit for people who want to balance work with other commitments, such as family or hobbies.
- Job security: The demand for HGV lorry drivers is high, so there is a good chance of finding a job in the transport industry.
- Benefits: Many employers offer HGV lorry drivers a range of benefits, such as health insurance, paid holidays, and pension plans.
If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding career, then becoming an HGV lorry driver may be the right choice for you.
Where To Find Training
There are many HGV training companies in the UK that offer training courses for HGV drivers. You can find a list of these companies on the Gov. website.
The cost of HGV training varies depending on the company you choose and the length of the course. However, you can expect to pay between £2,000 and £4,000 for a full training course.
Looking For HGV Driving Opportunities?
We hope you have enjoyed reading the article and find it helpful. If you are looking for HGV driving work, please contact our central recruitment team on Tel: 01582 393535.
If you’d like to learn more about our latest HGV jobs available in your area, you can visit one of our local ADR Network branches. We have branches located nationwide, so you’re sure to find one close to you. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us by completing our online contact form here.
Note: The information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. The content is based on general knowledge and online research and may not apply to every individual or situation. The information on this page is subject to change without notice.