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As the leading provider of HGV training in the UK, we are frequently asked about the HGV/LGV class licence. There seems to be a lot of confusion inasmuch as many people believe they are two separate licences. They are not. In fact, ‘HGV’ and ‘LGV’ are not license classes at all. The licence needed to drive either is known as the Class A.

A heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and large goods vehicle (LGV) is the same thing under both UK and European law. We use the terms interchangeably just because we can. As far as their classification, HGVs and LGVs are commercial trucks with a gross combination mass of more than 3500 kg.

The confusion relates to using ‘LGV’ to refer to light goods vehicles, such as vans and pickup trucks, with a gross vehicle weight of no more than 3.5 tonnes. These kinds of vehicles do not require a Class A licence to operate. Depending on their total weight and the type of cargo being transported, a light goods vehicle may still require some sort of enhanced commercial licence.

Now that we have totally confused you regarding HGV and LGV classifications, we should address the Class A licence and how to go about earning one. This licence opens the door to a long and rewarding career as a professional HGV or LGV driver. Licenced drivers operate all sorts of vehicles including articulated lorries, box trucks, tipper trucks, and heavy construction equipment.

Comprehensive Training

Earning a commercial driving licence does not begin by going right to an HGV/LGV class. One must have a full car licence to even begin the process. The student must also be in fairly good physical health as demonstrated by a medical exam. An NHS GP or private physician can complete the medical exam.

The full car licence and medical exam are just the prerequisites for beginning training. Completing the medical paperwork then leaves the student to apply for a provisional entitlement that will allow him or her to eventually undergo practical skills training. The student prepares for the HGV/LGV theory test while waiting for the provisional entitlement to arrive in the post.

The theory test is not hard by any stretch of the imagination. It is a two-part, 100-question test that measures the student’s knowledge of general road safety and hazard perception and avoidance. Both sections can be taken consecutively or in separate sessions. The HGV Training Centre offers a theory test preparation class for those who need it; you can also prepare for the test on your own.

With all of that out of the way, a passing grade on the theory test enables the student to begin practical skills training. This is where the real adventure and challenge begin. This training is more than a single HGV/LGV class; it involves classroom work and behind-the-wheel practice. Training culminates in a driving skills test at an official facility. Passing is the driver’s key to the future.

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