The freight sector is currently thriving now and there is a lot of demand for licensed truck and van drivers. It’s important to make sure you get the right type of driving licence.
If you are currently trying to find driving courses that will enable you to obtain the correct lorry licence, it’s likely that you may feel a bit confused due to all the different licence terminology.
When searching for driving jobs on the web or looking for job openings for truck drivers in local newspapers, you will notice that firms tend to use a combination of licensing terms. Some companies state that they require an LGV licence, while other companies may state that they require an HGV licence for jobs driving trucks weighing over 7.5 tonnes.
So, what are the main difference between HGV and LGV?
For those new to the transport and logistics field, HGV and LGV terms can be confusing. Many newbie drivers are just not sure which type of licence they need to obtain for the roles they are seeking.
To begin with, you need to be aware of the fact that in UK English, “licence” is spelt using a ‘c’ rather than an ‘s’. However, don’t worry if you are used to spelling “licence” like “license” as using the alternative spelling will not prevent you from obtaining a driving job. Just make sure you search job sites for both terms to avoid missing any great driving jobs in the UK.
Next, you need to understand what the abbreviations “HGV” and “LGV” stand for.
LGV = Large Goods Vehicle
HGV = Heavy Goods Vehicle
Under European and UK law, an HGV licence and an LGV licence are equivalent. The licences apply to all commercial trucks with a gross weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes. This could include flat beds, box vans, fridge trucks, trippers, Luton’s, drop sides, etc.
Confusion between the two terms arises because many people assume that LGV stands for “Light Goods Vehicle” as opposed to “Large Goods Vehicle”. A light goods vehicle is a small van or pickup truck that has a gross weight of under 3.5 tonnes. The truth is that you can drive a truck up to 3500kg with a regular car driving licence under category ‘B’ entitlement. There is also a Class 1 Licence.
Why is the term HGV used?
In the UK, all vehicles are taxed in accordance with their fuel type, construction, weight, engines, use case, and emissions.
Consequently, the term HGV began to be used when tax discs were introduced to UK vehicle owners and it was used to categorise vehicles for tax purposes.
Before the introduction of tax discs in the UK, vehicles with a gross weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes were categorised as heavy goods vehicles, while vehicles weighing less than 3.5 tonnes were categorised as light goods vehicles.
In 1992, the UK changed vehicle categories to match up with European license categories. Vehicles with a gross weight of over 3500kg were classified as trucks and thus LGV was changed to mean large goods vehicles as opposed to light goods vehicles. Consequently, there is now no difference between the terms LGV and HGV.
In 1992, all UK licences categories were also changed.
The HGV Class 1 category was changed to LGV C+E and HGV Class 2 was officially changed to LGV C.
Many people and older small businesses still refer to categories used prior to 1992, so don’t be shocked if you come across job openings for HGV Category C drivers or LGV Class 1 drivers.
In the past, HGV Class 3 was also a category of driving licence. The closest category to the old-style HGV Class 3 category is LGV C1. The C1 entitlement allows you to drive the vehicle over 3500kg up to a maximum of 7500kg. An LGV C1 licence is useful is you aim to drive vehicles that have restricted sizes, such as ambulances, motorhomes and horseboxes. Many local delivery vehicles are C1’s.
The majority of people looking to obtain professional driving job opt to upgrade their car licence so that it has an LGV C entitlement, allowing them to drive any vehicle (rigid) up to 32,000kg (32 tonnes). Many drivers opt to undergo Back-to-Back training to allow them to obtain LGV C+E entitlements, so they can drive vehicles that have large trailers up to 44,000kg.