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Sat, March 09, 2024

What is C1 on driving licence

What is C1 on driving licence

The C1 license, often referred to as a 7.5 tonner, serves as the introductory tier within the HGV license category. This license is primarily sought after by individuals aiming to enter the haulage industry as commercial drivers. However, the majority of applicants for the C1 license are typically associated with emergency services, notably the police and ambulance services. In fact, more than 90% of all C1 driving tests are undertaken by these two essential emergency response sectors. 


What is the C1 Licence on a Driving Licence?


Definition of the C1 licence designation on a driving licence


The C1 license is classified as a commercial Medium Goods Vehicle (MGV) with a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) surpassing 3.5 tonnes but not exceeding 7.5 tonnes MAM. MAM denotes the total weight of the vehicle plus its authorized load capacity, indicating the maximum weight legally allowed on the road surface. While towing a trailer is permitted with a C1 license, both the weight of the trailer and its cargo must not exceed 750 kilograms. 


Explanation of the vehicles covered under the C1 licence category


A C1 vehicle permits drivers to operate goods vehicles smaller than those covered by the Cat C and CE licenses. Many ambulances fall under the C1 classification due to their weight restrictions, as they meet the criteria for C1 vehicles. Consequently, C1 vehicles often appear compact, resembling standard 3.5-tonne vans at first glance. Police departments also utilize smaller C1 vehicles to transport equipment and resources required for their operations.


Vehicles Permitted with a C1 Licence


Detailed overview of the types of vehicles that can be driven with a C1 licence


The C1 licence category primarily pertains to weight limitations rather than the physical size of the vehicles, as there can be considerable variation in the sizes of 7.5-tonne vehicles. Goods vehicles are categorized based on their weight limits. Individuals who obtained their car licence before January 1, 1997, automatically received the C1 entitlement through grandfather rights. However, those who passed their car test after January 1, 1997, are restricted to driving vehicles with a maximum authorized mass (MAM) of no more than 3.5 tonnes.


Obtaining a C1 Licence


Explanation of the process for obtaining a C1 licence


Acquiring a C1 licence involves a standardized process similar to that of obtaining a Cat C or CE licence. It commences with a basic medical assessment and an application to the DVLA for the provisional C1 entitlement. Subsequently, candidates must pass multiple choice and hazard perception theory tests. For those intending to drive commercially, obtaining the Driver CPC qualification is also necessary, requiring mastery of three theory tests. Upon successful completion of the theoretical components, candidates proceed to the practical driving course and test. Additionally, if Driver CPC is required, an additional practical test is mandated following the driving test to obtain the Driver CPC card.It's important to note that Driver CPC pertains to professional, commercial drivers of goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. However, given that the majority of C1 driving tests are conducted for emergency services personnel, Driver CPC may not be applicable in most cases.The emergency services are actually exempt from Driver CPC. 


Requirements, qualifications, and documentation needed for C1 licence application


To apply for a provisional C1 licence, you must hold a full UK car driving license and meet the physical fitness requirements for operating a C1 vehicle. A medical assessment, evaluating factors such as blood pressure and eyesight, is conducted during the provisional licence application phase. If you pass the necessary medical examination and maintain a clean driving record, you will receive the provisional C1 licence. However, before proceeding to the theory and practical tests, it's crucial to ensure you are physically capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of a C1 driver. 


C1E on a Driving Licence


Definition and meaning of C1E designation on a driving licence


A C1E licence pertains to operating a 7.5-tonne goods vehicle while towing a trailer weighing over 750 kilograms. The technical specifications state that the primary vehicle (C1) must weigh over 3.5 tonnes but not exceed 7.5 tonnes MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass), towing a trailer over 750 kilograms. However, the Gross Train Weight (GTW), which is the combined weight of the primary vehicle and trailer, must not exceed 12 tonnes. Therefore, if the goods vehicle is plated at 7.5 tonnes MAM, the trailer's maximum weight cannot exceed 4.5 tonnes, ensuring a combined weight of 12 tonnes.If the primary vehicle (C1) is plated at 6 tonnes, then the maximum permitted weight of the trailer may not exceed 6 tonnes.


To obtain the C1E licence entitlement, the same application process as for the C1 licence must be followed, with the exception of undertaking the driving course and test in a C1E vehicle. This entails demonstrating skills such as reversing with the trailer and coupling and uncoupling maneuvers during the driving test. It is not necessary to pass the C1 driving test first to take the C1E test, as it is now possible to transition directly from a car licence to a C1E licence.If your intention is to get an HGV licence to then drive commercially most people do not bother with the C1 licence. Moreover, they will tend to get for the next size up, which is the cat C. The reason for this is passing a driving test in a Cat C will give you many more job opportunities and better pay. Passing in a Cat C vehicle will also give you C1. As mentioned previously the C1 class is really designed for the emergency services.In fact since November 2021 those looking to become professional HGV drivers can go straight to CE, class 1 without having to pass the cat C licence.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about C1 Driving Licence


Is C1 included on a standard driving licence?


Individuals who passed their car test after January 1, 1997, do not automatically have C1 entitlement on their driving licence and therefore need to undergo theory and practical testing.


How do I obtain C1 entitlement on my licence?


The process involves medical assessment, theory tests, and practical testing, typically spanning about 8 weeks.


Who is eligible for a C1 licence?


Anyone meeting the eligibility criteria can apply for a provisional C1 licence, provided they pass the required medical, theory, and practical tests.


What does C1E signify on a driving licence?


C1E licence is necessary for individuals driving a 7.5-tonne vehicle with a trailer weighing over 750 kilograms. The total weight of the unit and trailer must not exceed 12 tonnes GTW (Gross Train Weight).




Passing your car test in the UK does not automatically grant you the C1 licence entitlement. If you require it, you'll need to navigate through several steps, including medical assessments, theory tests, practical tests, and possibly the Driver CPC. It's crucial to research and find a reputable local HGV training company that can guide you through these requirements. In Surrey, EP Training Services has been offering C1 driver training since 1997.Once you obtain your C1 licence, it's valid until you turn 45. After that age, you'll need to undergo a basic medical examination to renew your C1 or C1E licence for another 5 years. Upon reaching 65, you'll need to undergo a medical examination annually.This post aims to provide clarity on the C1 and C1E licence application process, the types of vehicles covered by these licences, and the weight limits associated with them.


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