On the 15th November 2021, changes put in place by the government for HGV Driving Licences and Tests will come in effect (subject to Parliamentary approval).
If you work in the haulage sector, drive a HGV vehicle or are looking to take your HGV test soon, it is likely these changes will impact you.
One of the main changes is to HGV Driving Tests. In the past, in order to take the test to dive an articulated lorry (category CE) you had to first pass the test to drive a large rigid lorry (category C). As of the 15th November this will no longer be the case. You will now be able to take the test for the articulated lorry in the first instance and, passing this one test, will also allow you drive a large rigid lorry.
When the new rules come into effect, taking the HGV driving test for a CE vehicle will allow you drive the following:
- A medium sized lorry (C1)
- A medium sized lorry towing a trailer (C1E)
- A large rigid lorry (C)
- A large articulated lorry (CE)
However, do not intend to ever drive anything bigger than a large rigid lorry, the test for a category C vehicle will still be available.
Similar changes will come into effect for the medium-sized lorry driving test. In the past, to drive a medium sized lorry with a trailer (category C1E), you would first need to pass the test to drive a medium sized lorry (category C1). Once the changes are in place, you will be able take one test for the category C1E and, once passed, you will be eligible to also drive a medium sized lorry (Category C1).
Bus and Coach Driving
Under the current rules, in order to drive a bus or coach whilst towing a trailer, you must first take the Category D driving test to drive a bus or coach and then go on to take the Category DE test in order to tow a trailer.
As with lorries, the new rules will mean that you can take the category DE driving test without first taking the test for category D. This text will allow you to drive:
- A minibus (D1)
- A minibus towing a trailer (D1E)
- A bus or coach (D)
- A bus or coach towing a trailer (DE)
If you do now want to tow trailers, you will still be able to take the category D test in order to drive a bus or coach.
Similarly, with minibuses, after the changes you will be able to take the category D1E test to drive a minibus whilst towing a trailer without first needing to pass to the category D1 test to drive a minibus.
As pointed out by the Government website, it is important to follow the current rules until the new changes are confirmed and come into effect. You can be fined up to £1000, be banned from driving and get up to 6 penalty points on your driving licence if you drive a vehicle that’s not on your driving licence. Visit the government website to keep up to date with the latest changes.
HGV Driving Licence – Provisional Licence
After the changes take effect, you will get extra provisional categories when you apply for a HGV Driving or Bus and Coach licence. However, if you already have a provisional licence, the changes will not be automatically applied and your will need to contact the DVLA to upgrade your licence in order to take the trailer test first.
More information regarding the changes to HGV Driving licencing and tests can be found on the government website here.