In the UK, there are a variety of driving licences available. When most people refer to a driver’s licence, they are referring to the standard issue licence required of anyone who wants to drive a car on UK roads. However, there are different licences available for different vehicles – driving a van or lorry is very different to driving a typical car.
If you are confused by the array of licences available, this guide aims to clear things up.
Driving a Van with a Standard Drivers Licence
In the UK, the standard drivers’ licence is known as a category B licence. With this licence, you can drive vehicles up to a certain weight but will need a separate licence for anything heavier.
If you passed your test before1st January 1997, your category B licence allows you to drive a combination vehicle and trailer with a combined weight of up to 8,250 KG. This figure is the maximised authorised mass – MAM.
If you passed your driving test after 1stJanuary 1997 then you will be able to drive vehicles that weigh between 3,500 KG and 7,500 KG. You can also attach a trailer to the vehicle, provided that the total weight of the trailer doesn’t exceed 3,500 KG.
Heavy Goods Vehicles
To drive HGVs, you will need to apply for the appropriate provisional licence for the vehicle you want to drive.
If you want to earn a living by driving an HGV, you will need to apply for a full CPC licence. You will need to be over 18 years old and already have a full standard driving licence. If you aren’t driving the vehicle professionally then you don’t have to have the full CPC licence. However, you will still need to complete and pass the theory and driving ability sections of the test.
After earning the appropriate licence, you will be issued a Driver CPC card. It is important that you always keep this with you when driving. If you don’t, you can be fined.
Here are the other licensing categories and what they mean.
- C1– Vehicles weighing 1500 KG – 7500 KG + trailer up to 750 KG.
- C1E – C1 vehicles with trailers above MAM but below 12,000 KG.
- C – Vehicle over 3,500 LG + trailer up to 750 KG.
- CE – Category C vehicles + trailer over 750 KG
Buses and Minibuses
- D1 – Vehicles up to 16 seats and 8 metres in length + trailer up to 750 KG.
- D1E – D1 + trailer over 750 KG. Combined MAM below 12,000 KG
- D – More than 8 seats + trailer up to 750 KG.
- DE – D + trailer over 750 KG.
Driving a Minibus
To drive a minibus, you need a PCV licence, and a PSV licence if you want to use it professionally. A minibus can be driven on a regular driving licence so long as there are 16 or less non-paying passengers.
When you offer your minibus services for a charitable or education event, you can obtain for a permit to cover running costs, as long as you are carrying 9-16 passengers who are all belong to the organisation in question. You can obtain these permits via the DVSA.
That’s all you need to know about van licences in the UK.