Infographic showing LGV vehicles that need a  Category B, C, C+E and C1 licence

Commercial Driving Licences Explained

When you are applying for a new driving job, whether you are an experienced working Driver or someone new to a driving career, getting to know the different licences and associated job titles can be a little confusing.

How do you know what job to apply for if you are not sure you fit the criteria? Even more, how do you know what licence to get next to help you take a step-up? It starts with knowing what licence you already have, then you can find out what licence you need for your ideal job.

Vehicles and licences are sectioned into categories. If you flip over your standard car driving licence you will see a section on the back that defines each vehicle and their associated category.

Category B

Category B is the main car driving licence category. When you pass your driving test this licence covers you to drive category B vehicles (a vehicle up to 3,500kg or 3.5 tonne in weight) on public roads.

Because vehicles are defined by their weight and seating capacity, talking about a category B driving licence as a car licence is selling it a little short. The category B driving licence actually allows you to drive not only a car but what is known as a light van providing the van weighs 3,500kg/3.5 tonne or less.

What jobs can I do with a Category B licence?

Holding this licence enables you to apply for a job as a Light Van Driver which would include Delivery Driver and Courier Driver, providing you fit the other criteria’s of the role such as relevant experience and penalty point or disqualification rules.

Category C1

Category C1 is the first of the van/truck specific licences. Category C1 allows you to drive what is known as a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) weighing up to 7,500kg/7.5 tonne.

To get this licence you need to hold a Category B licence first then you will need to sit a theory test, the driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) Test (practical and theory) as well as the Cat C1 specific test.

 

Car drivers who passed their Category B driving licence before 1998 gained ‘automatic entitlement’ to the C1 Category, this practice was ended in 1998 and a separate C1 licence is required.

 

What jobs can I do with a Category C1 licence?

 

Holding this licence enables you to apply for a job as a C1 LGV Driver, (this is often still referred to as a ‘7.5 Tonne Driver’ within many job adverts). Examples of a C1 LGV Driver role might be, Multi-drop Delivery Driver, Courier Driver, small Removals Driver or in some cases Waste Carrier and Tipper Driver.

Click here to find out more about how to become a C1 LGV Driver.

Category C

A Category C licence covers you to drive rigid vehicles weighing over 7,500kg/7.5 tonne with trailers weighing up to 750kg. The term rigid refers to the trailer and simply means that the trailer is fixed to the cab and cannot move independently.

To get this licence you do not need to hold a Category C1 licence first and can apply directly for a Cat C provisional licence followed by sitting the Cat C specific practical test if you already hold a Category B (Car/Van) licence.

If you gain a Category C licence, you also gain ‘automatic entitlement’ to the C1 (7.5 tonne) Category.

To get this licence you need to hold a Category C1 licence first then apply for a Cat C provisional licence followed by sitting the Cat C specific practical test.

What jobs can I do with a Category C licence?

Holding this licence enables you to apply for a job as a Cat C LGV/HGV Class 2 Driver (HGV is a redundant term but one people still use regularly). LGV/HGV Class 2 Driver roles tend to be local or national Transportation and Haulage Drivers, Removals Drivers, as well as Dustcart Drivers (bin lorries) and even Paramedics providing you fit the other criteria’s of the role such as relevant experience and penalty point or disqualification rules.

Click here to find out more about how to become a LGV/HGV Class 2 Driver.

Category C+E

A Category C+E licence covers you to drive articulated vehicles in excess of 7,500kg/7.5 tonne with trailers weighing more than 750kg. The term articulated refers to how the trailer is coupled to the cab allowing articulated movement.

To get this licence you need to hold the Category C licence first then apply for a Cat C+E provisional licence followed by sitting the Cat C+E specific practical test.

What jobs can I do with a Category C+E licence?

Holding this licence enables you to apply for a job as a Cat C+E LGV/HGV Class 1 Driver. LGV/HGV Class 1 Driver roles tend to be national and international transportation and haulage drivers carrying a huge variety of goods.

Click here to find out more about how to become a C+E LGV/HGV Class 1 Driver.

Once you have qualified for your chosen licence be sure to check out our job pages  we offer temporary and permanent work opportunities for a wide range of roles as well as access to free CPC training for our drivers.