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Sat, March 30, 2024

What Lorry Can I Drive on a Car Licence?

What Lorry Can I Drive on a Car Licence?

The requirements for driving larger vehicles can indeed vary based on when you obtained your car licence and the categories of driving licences available. For instance, if you acquired your car licence before 1st January 1997, you might have additional entitlements compared to those who obtained their licences after this date. Additionally, understanding the meaning of the letters and numbers on your licence is crucial, as they indicate the categories of vehicles you're permitted to drive and any restrictions associated with them.

Before January 1st, 1997, drivers were entitled to operate certain categories of larger vehicles on a standard car licence. However, after this date, the regulations changed, and drivers are generally required to obtain additional licences or endorsements to operate larger vehicles legally on public roads.

Licences issued before January 1st, 1997, often included entitlements to drive vehicles and trailer combinations with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of up to 8,250 kilograms. This entitlement wasn't restricted to cars but also included other vehicle types such as minibuses with up to 8 passenger seats.


Driving a 7.5 Tonne Lorry on a Car Licence



Discussion on driving a 7.5 tonne vehicle with a car licence


It's crucial to understand that when towing a trailer, the combined weight of the trailer and its cargo should not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.

Many individuals possess the 7.5-tonne licence issued before 1997, with the youngest holders currently around 45 years old. This underscores the broader range of vehicles individuals could legally operate if they obtained their licence before 1997. However, handling a vehicle weighing 7.5 tonnes requires specialized skills and caution. This highlights the necessity for the changes implemented in vehicle licensing regulations on January 1st, 1997.

Below is a summary of current driving licence categories. For a more detailed list, please visit

Govt website

Category B: If you passed your test on or after 1 January 1997, you can drive vehicles with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of up to 3,500kg, including those with up to 8 passenger seats (such as minibuses). You are also permitted to tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 3,500kg.

Category B auto (restriction 78): You are allowed to drive a category B vehicle, but only if it is automatic.

Category BE: You can drive a vehicle with a MAM of 3,500kg while towing a trailer. The size of the trailer depends on the BE 'valid from' date on your licence:

If the date is before 19 January 2013, you can tow any size trailer within the towing limits of the vehicle.

If the date is on or after 19 January 2013, you can tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 3,500kg within the towing limits of the vehicle.


Medium-sized vehicles or vehicle between 3,500 – 7,500kgs


Category C1: This category allows you to drive vehicles with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) between 3,500 and 7,500kg, along with a trailer weighing up to 750kg.

Category C1E: With this category, you can drive C1 vehicles while towing a trailer weighing over 750kg. The combined maximum authorised mass (MAM) of both the vehicle and trailer cannot exceed 12,000kg.


Driving Larger Vehicles on a Car Licence



Explanation of the types of vehicles allowed on a standard car licence


Category C: This category permits you to drive vehicles weighing over 3,500kg, along with a trailer weighing up to 750kg maximum authorised mass (MAM).

Category CE: With this category, you can drive category C vehicles while towing a trailer weighing over 750kg. Essentially, it encompasses any goods vehicle with or without a trailer.

The codes and their meanings are as follows:

01 - Indicates the use of eyesight correction, such as glasses or contact lenses.

02 - Refers to the use of a hearing/communication aid.

70 - Indicates an exchange of licence.

71 - Indicates a duplicate of the licence.

78 - Specifies a restriction to vehicles with automatic transmission.

79 - Indicates a restriction to vehicles conforming to specified specifications on the licence.

97 - Specifies a restriction from driving category C1 vehicles that require a tachograph fitted.

101 - Indicates not for hire or reward, meaning not for profit.

102 - Specifies use limited to drawbar trailers only.

105 - Indicates the vehicle is not more than 5.5 metres long.

106 - Specifies a restriction to vehicles with automatic transmissions.

107 - Specifies a vehicle weight limit of not more than 8,250 kilograms.

108 - Indicates subject to minimum age requirements.

115 - Indicates organ donor status.

118 - Indicates the start date for the earliest entitlement.

119 - Specifies that the weight limit for the vehicle does not apply.

121 - Indicates restrictions to conditions specified in the Secretary of State’s notice.


Transitioning to a Class 1 HGV Licence from a Car Licence



The process for gaining or upgrading your licence is as follows:


There are four distinct modules involved in upgrading your licence, but none of them can be pursued until you have obtained your provisional driving licence entitlement.

1. Module 1: This consists of two parts—1a, the Hazard Perception test, and 1b, the theory test.

2. Module 2: Involves completing Driver CPC case studies.

3. Module 3: This encompasses practical driver training.

4. Module 4: Includes the practical vehicle inspection test.

Before proceeding with any of these modules, you must meet the minimum age requirement of 18 years.

Medical: Aspiring HGV/LGV licence holders are required to undergo a medical examination initially.

Provisional: Alongside the completed medical form, known as D1, you'll need to fill out a D2 form, which is the provisional licence application for driving goods vehicles and passenger-carrying vehicles.


Explanation of training and licensing requirements


Modules 1 & 2: Once your licence is returned with the appropriate entitlement, you can contact EP to arrange your theory tests. It's important to note that individuals aged 18 to 21 must complete driver CPC modules 2 & 4, even for private driving purposes like horseboxes. However, those aged 21 and above only require driver CPC modules 2 & 4 for commercial driving.

Module 3: After passing the theory tests, you can commence practical training. The duration of the course will vary depending on your driving experience and the vehicle category you intend to train on.

Module 4: While you can complete the 4th module before, during, or after module 3, it's crucial to note that commercial driving is not permitted without its completion.


The End of The Beginning


Once you've completed the process and obtained your new driving licence category, it marks the end of your training journey and the beginning of a new chapter in your experience.

The transport industry is subject to rigorous regulations, particularly for both transport operators and drivers alike. As a driver, it becomes your responsibility to stay abreast of regulations governing driver hours, vehicle inspections, and safe loading practices, among other essential requirements.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Can I drive a recovery truck on a car licence?


To drive a car, you need category B on your licence. Category B allows you to drive vehicles weighing up to 7,500kg before 1st January 1997 and up to 3,500kg from 1st January 1997 onwards.

Recovery vehicles, as defined by the DVSA, typically have a gross weight ranging from 3,500kg (or 3.5 tonnes) to 25,000kg (or 25 tonnes).

There are specific rules and exemptions for drivers of recovery vehicles operating within 100 km of their base. For detailed information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidefor-recovery-operations/running-a-vehicle-recovery-business-driver-and-vehicle-safety-rules.


Can I drive a tractor unit on a car licence?


Tractor units typically weigh between 7,000 to 9,000kg or 7 to 9 tonnes, depending on the number of axles. However, to drive a tractor unit, you need a category C licence.


Does the fifth wheel coupling need to be removed before I can drive it on a category C licence?


No, you don’t need to remove the fifth wheel coupling. It would only be illegal to drive a vehicle with a fifth wheel coupling on a category C licence if a trailer were attached.

Getting your licence to drive a larger vehicle is straightforward. Simply contact EP Training Services Ltd at 01372 450800, and they will guide you through the entire process step by step, as any reputable training organization would




We've delved into license categories and restriction codes, there's one crucial point I'd like to emphasize: once it's on your lorry, it's your responsibility. Ensuring the safety of your lorry and its load before hitting the road is paramount. Any mishap, such as something falling off your vehicle, can have serious consequences. Let's remember that holding a license to drive any vehicle is a privilege granted to us by the traffic commissioner. It's a responsibility we must uphold with the utmost care and diligence.


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