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Becoming a lorry or bus driver

To become a lorry or bus driver, you need to make sure you have the correct licence to drive your intended vehicle. This will depend on your vehicle weight. Find out what you need to do to become a lorry or bus driver.

What a lorry or bus driver does

Holding a bus or lorry driving licence will allow you to work for a company or organisation driving your vehicle locally, nationally or across Europe.

As a lorry driver you can:

  • deliver shop or building materials (multi-drop deliveries)
  • drive box container or curtain-sided vehicles
  • drive tankers that contain liquids such as fuel or milk
  • drive tankers that contain powders such as cement or flour
  • transport livestock
  • deliver temperature controlled goods such as salads, flowers or frozen foods

As a coach driver, you can drive long distance:

  • day trips or airport services 
  • to European holiday destinations

As a bus driver you can drive locally, scheduled services or school services.

The driving licence needed to drive a lorry or bus

Lorries are known as Large Goods Vehicles (LGV), buses are known as Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV).

When driving larger vehicles, the maximum authorised mass (total vehicle weight plus the maximum load it can carry) influences the driving licence entitlement you need.

For example, if the vehicle has a maximum authorised mass (MAM) which exceeds 3.5 tonnes, but not 7.5 tonnes, then a category C1 licence is needed. If the MAM exceeds 7.5 tonnes then a category C licence is needed.

You must normally be aged over 21 and hold a full (not provisional) category B entitlement (car) before you can take a:

  • large goods vehicle (LGV) test
  • passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) test

To add a trailer entitlement (+E) to your licence, you’ll need to hold the full category entitlement for the vehicle before you take the trailer test.

For example, to drive an articulated vehicle, you would need to pass category C, and then pass category C+E to obtain the required licence.

A professional driver should set an example to other drivers. You should make sure that the vehicle is driven with maximum safety, courtesy and consideration for everyone else on today's busy roads.

If at any stage you lose your car licence entitlement you will also automatically lose your LGV or PCV licence.

What you need to do to become a professional driver

To become a professional driver it is important that you have the correct training and instruction before taking your practical test. A list of Driving Standards Agency (DSA) approved LGV training organisations and instructors is available on the Business Link website.

To obtain a licence to drive a lorry and/or bus you will have to pass the following tests:

  • theory and hazard perception tests
  • practical driving test
  • the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC)

The DSA has developed a voluntary Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) instructor accreditation scheme. This is to make sure that the training given to drivers wanting to take the LGV tests is of a high standard. 

Health and medical standards

To obtain a driving licence for a bus or lorry, you will need a medical examination to ensure that you are fit to drive.

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Additional links

The Highway Code

Read The Highway Code online

Driving test fees

Find out the cost of theory and practical driving tests when you book on Directgov

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