WANT TO DRIVE A HORSEBOX?
Since January 1997 the law covering LGV driver training has changed. This guide should help you to understand how and the flow chart opposite shows the various stages to becoming a LGV driver.
Is there an age limit?
Normally, to drive any truck over 3.5 but less than 7.5 tonnes gvw (gross vehicle weight) you need to be 18 years of age or over. For any truck over 7.5 tonnes gvw you need to be 21 years or over. You will also need to be the holder of an ordinary car driving licence. Next, you need to visit any main post office and ask for two forms:
- Form D1 - Application for a driving licence.
- Form D4 - Medical Report.
- Although you already hold an ordinary (car) driving licence, a form D1 must be completed because to learn to drive an LGV you will need a provisional / vocational entitlement to be added to your existing licence. If you do not presently hold a photo-card driving licence you will also need a D750.
Why do I need a medical?
The D4 must be completed because medical evidence is needed by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) before they will add the provisional entitlement to drive an LGV to your licence. Arrange for a medical examination with your own doctor and complete form D4 as required (study the notes on pages 1 and 2 of the form) The medical report isn't free under the NHS and a fee will be charged by your doctor (The BMA advisory figure is presently £67.50).
Once you have filled in the D1 driving licence application and your GP has given you a medical and filled in the D4 medical form, send them both off to the DVLA at Swansea (DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BR), together with the appropriate fee. The amount will be shown on the D1 application form.
It normally takes no more than ten days for the provisional entitlement to be added to your licence.
Now can I drive a truck?
No! Not yet! Once you get your licence back the best thing to do is contact your nearest driver training school. Training schools are based right across the United Kingdom and the first thing they will do is offer to take you through a driver assessment.
The assessment normally lasts about an hour and can usually be arranged at short notice. An instructor will talk you through the basics of what is required to become a professional commercial vehicle driver, before taking you out on the road for a demonstration drive. Then, you will be allowed to take the wheel and find out just what it feels like to be in control of a truck.
The instructor will ask you to carry out a few simple manoeuvres, enabling him / her to begin assessing your ability to drive a large goods vehicle. Once you've completed some on road driving the instructor will discuss your driving technique and tell you how much tuition he / she believes you will need to be competent to take a vocational category examination (rigid LGV).
If you decide to proceed you will need to book an LGV theory test. You can book a theory test by telephoning 0870 0101372. You will need to pass the theory test before taking the practical examination (A theory test pass certificate is valid for two years). Most driver training schools offer theory tuition, as well as practical instruction.
If you want to do some research before committing yourself to putting in for training, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has published two excellent books that take you through the whole process. They are:
- The Official Theory Test for drivers of large vehicles - ISBN 0-11-552119-4
- The Official Goods Vehicle Driving Manual - contains all the necessary information for you to pass the LGV practical test. - ISBN 0-11 552195-X
- Both publications should be available to borrow from all main libraries. Alternatively, they can be purchased from all booksellers. Quote the ISBN numbers when ordering.