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HGV/LGV Vehicle Tests


Information relating to HGV tests and the licence categories that are need to drive.

Large goods vehicle


A large goods vehicle (LGV), is the formal generic term in the European Union for goods motor vehicles with a maximum allowed mass (MAM) or gross combination mass (GCM) of over 3.5 tonnes - 3,500 kilograms (7,716 lb). LGVs are officially classed into two categories - N2 and N3. Category N2 is up to 12 tonnes - 12,000 kilograms (26,455 lb), and category N3 is greater than 12 tonnes.

The former term

heavy goods vehicle

(HGV) is still commonly used. The term was changed from heavy goods vehicle to large goods vehicle - as not all countries in Europe had a word for ’heavy’ with the same uniform contextual meaning.

In the European Union, the LGV driver’s licence is divided into four categories:

Category C1



Effectively the new HGV Class 3 in the UK, the old HGV Class 3 being any two-axle goods vehicle over 7.5 tonnes - 7,500 kilograms (16,535 lb); allows the holder to drive a vehicle with a maximum authorised mass (gross vehicle weight) between 3.5 tonnes to 7.5 tonnes (3,500 to 7,500 kilograms (7,716 to 16,535 lb)) with a trailer up to 750 kilograms (1,653 lb) maximum authorised mass. This licence can be obtained at 18 years of age.

Category C1+E



Allows the holder to drive a vehicle with a maximum authorised mass (gross vehicle weight) between 3.5 tonnes - 7.5 tonnes (3,500 to 7,500 kilograms (7,716 to 16,535 lb)) with a trailer over 750 kilograms (1,653 lb) maximum authorised mass, provided that the maximum authorised mass of the trailer does not exceed the unladen mass of the vehicle being driven, and the combined maximum authorised mass of both the vehicle and trailer does not exceed 12 tonnes (12,000 kilograms (26,455 lb).

Example: A vehicle with an unladen mass of 2,650 kilograms (5,842 lb), and a MAM of 4,005 kilograms (8,830 lb), with a trailer MAM of 2,200 kilograms (4,850 lb) will give a combined MAM of 6,205 kilograms (13,680 lb) - but the Unladen Mass of the vehicle being driven (2650 kg) is greater than the MAM of the trailer (2200 kg) so is acceptable. However, a vehicle with an unladen mass of 2650 kg and a MAM of 4005 kg, with a trailer MAM of 2,700 kilograms (5,952 lb) will give a combined MAM of 6,705 kilograms (14,782 lb) - but because the MAM of the trailer (2700 kg) exceeds the Unladen Weight of the vehicle being driven (2650 kg), you would need a Category C+E licence to drive that vehicle.

In the Uk, drivers who passed a Category B (car) test before 1 January 1997, will have received Categories C1 and C1+E (Restriction Code 107: not more than 8,250 kilograms (18,188 lb)) through the Implied Rights issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Category C



Effectively the new HGV Class 2 in the UK, the old HGV Class 2 being any rigid goods vehicle with more than two axles; allows the holder to drive a vehicle weighing over 3.5 tonnes (3,500 kilograms (7,716 lb)) with a trailer up to 750 kilograms (1,653 lb) maximum authorised mass.

Category C+E



The new Class 1; allows the holder to drive a vehicle weighing over 3.5 tonnes (3,500 kilograms (7,716 lb)) with a trailer over 750 kilograms (1,653 lb) maximum authorised mass. This licence could only be obtained after 6 months experience of a Class 2 truck, but more recently the law has changed to the effect that you can now do back to back tests, i.e. Category C first then C+E the following week.

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