If you want to drive a vehicle which weighs between 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes, and tow a trailer that weighs up to 750kg, then you will need to have Category C1 on your licence. If you passed your test before January 1997 you might automatically have this on your licence already. But if you passed after 1997 then you will need to apply to add the C1 medium lorry licence category to your licence.
You will need to take both a theory and practical lorry driving test for you to gain this new category on your licence and we are able to help you and guide you through the whole process and offer a complete training package.
If you are going to be driving this size of vehicle for a living then you will also need to take the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) but the good news is we are here with you every step of the way, providing professional advice and all the training you require to achieve your driving goals. You don’t need this if you are driving for leisure.
So what does it enable me to drive?
Category C1 is basically the start of the Heavy Goods Vehicle driving categories on a driving licence. If you pass the tests to achieve this category, it will enable you to drive larger vans or medium-sized lorries – anything up to 7.5 tonnes.
Bear in mind the weight limit applies to when it is fully laden, not the vehicle itself, as this does catch people out sometimes.
For example, if you have a large horse box, or a self-contained horse box, you will need this licence but you will need to make sure the horse box, plus the horses, weighs no more than 7.5 tonnes so be careful with that if you have large horses to transport.
This licence also allows you to deliver larger goods by driving a bigger van, so if you have plans to set up your own home removal business you would need to have this type of licence, for example, or if you were delivering refrigerated groceries for a supermarket.
This category is also required on your licence if you want to train to become an ambulance driver, for example. Other examples of 7.5 tonne vehicles that you will be able to drive, include flatbeds, fridge trucks, curtain sider lorries, box vans, tipper trucks and drop side lorries.
What’s the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence?
If you are planning to get a Category C1 licence because you wish to drive this size of vehicle for a living, then you will also need the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). This was introduced following EU Directive 2003/59 which requires all professional bus, coach and lorry drivers to hold a CPC as well as their driving licence.
Driver CPC requires all existing category C and D licence holders (including C1 and D1) to take part in 35 hours training every five years in order to maintain their CPC. They do not need to do the new driver training qualifications but need to complete the 35 hours.
But for new drivers, CPC introduced a new initial qualification process that they must complete before they can drive professionally. The new driver CPC applies after passing the basic driving licence, and includes four sections:
- The CPC theory test – this is made of two parts, a multiple choice test containing 100 questions and a hazard perception test made up of 19 videos.
- The CPC case studies – seven case studies which the driver works through on a computer, which takes around two hours to complete.
- The practical tests – driving ability on the road – one and a half hour driving test
- The practical tests – vehicle safety demonstration
The aim is to improve professional driver safety, reduce road casualties and enhance the reputation of those that drive for a living by ensuring high levels of competence from the outset. We can support you with all levels of CPC training.
What if I want to tow something heavier?
If you want to drive a 7.5 tonne vehicle but tow something heavier then you will need to go for the category C1+E on your licence and we can help with this and offer full training for you. We can also help advise on the staging process – moving up from one driving category to the next – to help you achieve the driving licence you need.