HGV and Bus Driving Test Changes

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We recently explained the changes in driving licencing for cars pulling trailers, caravans and horseboxes, now possibly to come into force from 15 November 2021*.

Changes are also coming in for HGV and bus testing and licensing, too. Note: none of these are yet in operation and until they do all driving licence entitlements remain as now.

HGVs/Lorries

Current position: you need to pass a rigid lorry driving test (licence category C) and then take a further test to pull trailers e.g. for articulated combinations (category C + E)

Future change: a driver will be able to take one test in a large articulated lorry (C + E) without having had to pass category C first if they wish to do one, rather than two tests. The effect of this is drivers passing that test will be able to drive lorry/trailer combinations up to the maximum permitted and all sizes of lorries/trailers below that.

If a driver wants only to drive a lorry up to 7.5 tonnes towing a trailer (C1 + E) then, again, they won’t have to take the C1 test first – but can do this in one process.

Passenger Vehicles (Buses and Coaches)

Current position: again, you have to take a bus or coach test (category D licence) before a test allowing you to tow a trailer (D + E).

Future position: you will be able to go to category D + E in one stage. If you only want to drive a minibus (D1) towing a trailer (D1 + E) then you can go straight to a test for a minibus pulling a trailer.

In all cases above the driver must obviously first apply for a provisional licence to cover the categories for which they are learning to drive. Further, the above has not yet been brought into force. If you drive a vehicle or vehicle/trailer combination without the correct driving licence then you could commit a driving licence offence, and also would be deemed not to be insured. We will update you when any testing and driving licence changes actually come into force.

As in the case of the changes to cars/vans towing trailers, it is unclear what risk or safety assessments have been undertaken to examine the potential impact of these changes.

Our Road Transport law team can help you

Ashtons Legal provides dedicated, niche advice in the area of road transport law, including operator licensing as well as representation in Court and at Traffic Commissioner Public Inquiry hearings.

For more information about this or any other aspects of road transport law please get in touch with us through our online enquiry form or by calling 0330 404 0768. We would be delighted to help you and your business.


*Draft regulation: Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2021.


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