What is a Large Goods Vehicle?
Depending on where in the world you live, the term ‘large goods vehicle’ will mean different things. For example, a vehicle classified as a large goods vehicle in the US is different to a vehicle classified as a large goods vehicle in Germany.
In the United Kingdom, a large goods vehicle is defined by weight and its structure (rigid body or articulated), and these are the determining factors as to who can legally drive it. All of the Lorries in operation on UK roads are classed as large goods vehicles, however LWB vans are not. Rigid body vehicles have a rigid cargo body fixed to the driver’s cab, while articulated vehicles have a cab that’s separate to the cargo body.
Driver’s license categories for large goods vehicles
Those with a Category C driver’s license can drive vehicles with a rigid body over 3,500kg with a trailer up to 750kg, so for example, you can drive a bin lorry or a fire engine.
The next tier is Category C+E. With this license, you can drive Category C vehicles with a trailer over 750kg. So for example, you can drive a lorry or a truck and its cargo. To obtain a C+E licence, you must already hold a Category C licence.
Category C1 is for medium-sized vehicles, it lets you drive vehicles weighing between 3,500 kg - 7,500 kg, with or without a trailer up to 750 kg. C1+E is the step up from this, allowing you to drive with a trailer weighing more than 750 kg, for a total weight up to 12,000 kg.
To drive a large lorry or a truck in the UK, Category C+E is the minimum standard. This lets you drive an articulated lorry with a weight up to 44-tonnes. To obtain this license, you must be 18 years old, provide a medical report showing you’re fit to drive an LGV and hold a full car license for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Should I drive LGVs for a living?
Holding an LGV license is a stepping stone to a very good career. Newly qualified LGV drivers can expect to earn a salary of £22,000 per year while experienced drivers can earn over £30,000 per year in permanent employment. It is also considered to be a safe career path and we know many truckers who love what they do and have been working for more than 50 years. The job takes commitment though and you can expect to be on the road a lot.