If you are looking to hire a 7.5-tonne lorry in the United Kingdom, but the frequent changes in this field’s regulations still leave you uncertain of whether you need HGV licences, additional entitlements to your existing licence or any other kind of certificate – you are in the right place! After reading this article, you will at last stop asking yourself, ‘Can I drive a 7.5-tonne lorry?’ and start driving it.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What Is A 7.5-Tonne Lorry?
- 2 Licence Requirements: Can I Drive A 7.5-Tonne Lorry?
- 3 Grandfather Rights: Who Can Drive A 7.5-Tonne Lorry On
- 4 Commercial Driving And Driver CPC
- 5 Penalties For Driving A 7.5-Tonne Lorry On A Wrong Licence Or Without CPC
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7 Conclusion
What Is A 7.5-Tonne Lorry?
A 7.5-tonne lorry is a truck with a maximum authorised mass (MAM, or GVWR – gross vehicle weight rating) of 7,500 kg. This allowed requirement refers to the absolute weight of a vehicle or trailer, including the load and passengers (GVW – gross vehicle weight).
Along with the clarification on what a lorry is, it’s important to mention that a 7.5-tonne is categorised as a heavy goods vehicle in the UK (HGV; LGV – large goods vehicles as per the EU classification), a term used to describe vehicles over 3.5t of MAM.
The abbreviation LGV stood for light goods vehicles (with MAM up to 3.5t) in the UK, which is why in 1992 they established the term HGV to avoid any confusion in regards to the EU term.
Licence Requirements: Can I Drive A 7.5-Tonne Lorry?
You can legally drive a 7.5-tonne lorry if you have a C1 licence – the basic HGV licence that allows you to drive vehicles with MAM from 3.5 to 7.5t, the maximum weight of the trailer excluded, in this case – 750 kg, making up a total of 8,25 tonnes.
To apply for a C1 licence, there are certain requirements you need to meet, such as:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Hold a B-category licence
- Provide documentation signed by a medical professional proving that you are medically fit
These and the rest of the requirements and procedures are regulated by the UK Government’s Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency, according to which, if you got your standard licence before 1997, you are automatically entitled to a C1 licence as well.
Grandfather Rights: Who Can Drive A 7.5-Tonne Lorry On
Anyone who obtained their driver’s licence before 1 January 1997 is automatically entitled to drive a 7.5-tonne lorry on a car driving licence, without adding C1 entitlement to it.
This is due to the grandfather rights, the term established after the American Civil War, continuously used to exempt various entities from adhering to new laws in different spheres, including the driving industry.
A sub-category within category C was implemented during the 1968 Vienna Convention. The UK ratified this only in 2018, but has, however, adopted the driving licence categories through the EU Driving Licence Directives. Before 1997, anyone who passed a car driving test had the freedom to drive a much wider range of vehicles as compared to post-1997 standard car licences.
Even though today additional tests are required for a C1 licence, those who were entitled to it at the moment of passing their driving test, continue to hold this right.
Category B car licence sufficient
Category C1 entitlement needed
Commercial Driving And Driver CPC
Professional drivers must hold the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) along with the C1 licence, including those who had passed the test before 1997. The certificate is obtained by undergoing the Driver CPC training and passing the test that consists of 4 modules:
- A theory test
- Case studies
- Practical road driving test and off-road exercises
- Practical demonstration of vehicle operation
During the National Vocational Training, you can pass tests 1 and 3 and apply to drive professionally for up to 12 months before completing the testing. The Driver CPC must be prolonged every 5 years after 35 hours of periodic training.
The Driver CPC rules apply to all of the HGV drivers who wish to drive for commercial purposes. But if you are wondering, ‘Can I drive a minibus?’ with Driver CPC, you will need to meet a few other requirements, most notably obtaining the D1 licence.
Penalties For Driving A 7.5-Tonne Lorry On A Wrong Licence Or Without CPC
Driving a 7.5-tonne lorry professionally without a CPC card (DQC – Driver Qualification Card), once you have passed the test and obtained it, can result in a £50 penalty.
Penalties and penalty points for driving a 7.5-tonne Lorry on the wrong licence may vary depending on the specific situation in which the offence was committed. For instance, for driving otherwise than by the licence, you can get 3-6 penalty points, and for excess weight offences, the fixed penalty amount is between £100 and £300.
Driving a 7.5-tonne lorry professionally without CPC can lead to fines up to £1,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
A 7.5-tonne lorry falls under the C1 category, allowing you to drive any vehicle with a gross weight between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes. Motor vehicles in this category may be combined with a trailer with MAM not exceeding 750 kg, making it possible for them to weigh up to 8.25 tonnes.
You can drive a 7.5-tonne lorry on a car licence if you obtained your licence before 1 January 1997. You don’t need to take any further tests, but you do need to submit medical documentation every 5 years if you are 45 and older, or annually, if you are 65 and older.
You can drive a 7.5-tonne lorry without CPC for non-commercial purposes. Also, if you are on a rescue mission, driving in case of emergency or a local authority maintaining order, are driving for an agriculture, horticulture, forestry, farming or fisheries business, as long as driving is less than 30% of your rolling monthly working time, you can drive without CPC.
You can drive a 7.5t lorry without a tachograph if you are driving for non-commercial purposes. You may not need a tachograph if you are a professional who drives within a 62-mile (100 km) radius of your work base and your main job is not driving. This doesn’t apply if you drive for more than 4 hours per day. There are other exemptions related to specific work fields, such as driving animals to slaughterhouses or markets, but the conditions vary.
Finally, to answer the question, ‘Can I drive a 7.5-tonne lorry?’ – yes if you have a C1 category entitlement in your licence, or if you got your standard car licence before 1997. If you wish to drive HGV professionally, you will need a Driver CPC as well. If you have none of the above, now you have all the information you need to take up driver CPC training and apply for the C1 car test!