In the UK, the transportation sector is a huge industry, and Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Drivers or Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Drivers play a crucial role in keeping the economy of the country moving. With over 250 thousand Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers transporting goods and materials across the country every day and, the average salary range of £40,000 to £55,000 per year (according to the data of Reed.co.uk) made this job more attractive and demanding in the job market of the UK.
The open road calls to many, but few understand the dedication and skill required to answer that call professionally. If you are considering a career that allows you to traverse the highways while ensuring the delivery of essential goods or transporting passengers safely to their destinations and looking for a guideline. In that case, you’ve landed on the right page.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you may find a fulfilling career as a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) or bus driver. So, let’s start the journey!
Table of Contents
Who is a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) driver?
The person qualified to operate a truck or lorry over 3,500kg is a large goods vehicle (LGV) commonly referred to as a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver. Often referred to as lorry drivers or haulage drivers they are responsible for moving items for suppliers and customers, locally, nationally and internationally.
The primary responsibility of a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) driver is the safe transportation of goods around the country, or even overseas if needed.
This job role includes the following duties as well:
Operating a range of commercial vehicles with a gross weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes, such as rigid trucks, articulated lorries, tankers, transporters, and trailer wagons.
Undertaking journeys that vary in distance, catering to both local and long-haul deliveries.
Collaborating with transport managers to devise delivery schedules and efficient routing.
Overseeing or assisting in the loading and unloading of goods from the vehicle.
Engaging in the physical work of lifting and transporting goods.
Ensuring cargo is securely fastened to prevent any transit damage.
Monitoring traffic conditions and modifying planned routes as needed to avoid delays.
Completing and managing delivery documentation and related paperwork.
Maintaining accurate records in logbooks as required by transport regulations.
Conducting basic vehicle maintenance checks, which include inspecting oil levels, tyres, and brakes to ensure operational safety.
Adapting to extended periods of driving and operating from the confines of a vehicle cabin.
Occasionally, spending nights away from home to fulfil long-distance delivery obligations.
Requirements to become Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) driver
Basic Eligibility Criteria: To start a career as an LGV driver, there are certain requirements you must fulfil. These typically involve being of a certain age—usually 18 or 21 years old—a history of safe driving as evidenced by a clean driving record, and the possession of a valid standard driver’s licence.
Educational Prerequisites: While a college degree is not necessary, a high school diploma or equivalent is often required. Some companies might also offer apprenticeships or on-the-job training programs.
Medical and Fitness Standards: Drivers must pass a medical exam that often includes vision, hearing, and overall physical fitness to ensure the ability to handle long hours and the physical demands of the job.
Legal Requirements: Background checks are standard to ensure the safety and security of goods and passengers. Additionally, a clean driving record is essential for insurance and trustworthiness in the industry.
Taking HGV Training: Training as an HGV driver not only boosts your employability across the UK but also throughout Europe. Once qualified to drive heavy vehicles, you become a sought-after asset for various employers, from direct business contracts to logistics companies.
With an ever-present need for transporting goods in countless industries, the role of an HGV driver is essential. This is underscored by a notable shortage of drivers, with reports like the Sun newspaper’s indicating the UK alone needs an additional 45,000 HGV drivers. This demand means greater choice and flexibility in your work arrangements.
In Studyhub we have a well crafted course on Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) to provide our learners with the basic necessary skills and knowledge about Large Goods Vehicles (LGV), their characteristics, what measurements Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers should take while driving, how to get professional LGV or HGV licence and many more.
What type of LGV or HGV licence should I get?
Not all lorry driving licences are identical, as they vary depending on the vehicle’s weight and the load it can carry, including any additional weight from a trailer.
Below is an overview of the primary HGV licence categories available:
Cat C1+E: Holding a Cat C1+E licence permits you to operate vehicles with a weight range from 3,500kg to 7,500kg, with the added capability of towing a trailer that exceeds 750kg.
Cat C1: A Cat C1 designation is for the lightest class of haulage vehicles, tipping the scales at 3,500kg to 7,500kg, and this includes the option to tow a trailer that does not exceed 750kg.
Cat C: Obtaining a Cat C licence qualifies you to handle heftier vehicles that surpass the 3,500kg mark, with the added ability to tow trailers up to 750kg.
Cat C+E: For the heaviest category in HGVs, with a vehicle weight exceeding 3,500kg and the capacity to tow a trailer heavier than 750kg, you’ll need a Cat C+E licence.
The steps to getting LGV licence
Acquiring your HGV licence is a clear-cut process involving a series of well-defined stages. With appropriate guidance and training, navigating through each phase can be straightforward. Our training program is designed to guide you through every step comprehensively.
Theory test: The process for your LGV theory test is similar to that of a standard car driving test, consisting of multiple-choice questions presented on a computer at an official testing centre. Before sitting the main exam, you should have engaged in extensive preparation, including numerous practice tests offered by your training provider. Our theory booking team is well-equipped with the experience to assist you throughout your theory training and the testing process.
Practical training: After completing your theory training and receiving your results from the DVSA, you’ll transition to hands-on driving practice. This stage allows you to operate an actual HGV under the guidance of a DVSA-accredited and seasoned instructor, maximising your prospects of acing your practical examination. When you’re ready for the practical test, we’ll help schedule it. With diligent preparation, you might clear it on your first attempt. LGVT provides two complimentary opportunities to pass the practical test at no additional charge, granted you’ve chosen our pass protection package; otherwise, retests will incur a fee.
Driver CPC training: Achieving success in your practical test enables you to drive an LGV legally. However, to drive commercially, you might also require the Driver CPC – the Certificate of Professional Competence – unless it’s already included in your license. The Driver CPC ensures you meet the necessary standards for professional driving. To maintain your qualification, you’ll need to undertake a 35-hour refresher course every five years to ensure your skills and knowledge remain up to date.
What is Driver CPC and necessity of Driver CPC?
Now if you are a newbie, you may be wondering what actually Driver CPC is.
The Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) is an essential accreditation for those looking to drive heavy vehicles as a profession, be it buses, coaches, or lorries. This qualification goes beyond essential driving ability; it distinguishes the competent drivers from the truly professional, enhancing road safety and driving standards across Europe.
To secure your Driver CPC, you must first pass both a multiple-choice and a hazard perception theory test, in addition to a case study examination. Subsequently, you’ll undertake a practical driving assessment that includes “show me, tell me” elements—where you demonstrate and articulate how you would handle certain scenarios and conduct vehicle safety checks. This part of the test also involves off-road manoeuvres.
With your Driver CPC in hand, you’re well on becoming a professional Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) driver. The next step is to land the ideal driving position, and the market has a wealth of opportunities from which to select.
How much can you earn as a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) driver?
As mentioned earlier, a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) driver’s earnings can vary widely, typically between £40,000 and £55,000 annually. This variation is influenced by several factors, including the type of vehicle operated, geographical driving routes, the nature of the cargo transported, and the employer’s profile.
Due to the critical link between driver fatigue and road safety, driving hours for HGV operators are strictly regulated. You will likely follow a set rota that could incorporate both night and day shifts, which might alternate weekly, or you might have a consistent day shift schedule. For an in-depth understanding of HGV drivers’ working hours, we’ve dedicated a separate article that covers the topic comprehensively.
By law, the driving limit stands at 9 hours per day, which can extend to 10 hours on two days of the week. The maximum driving time is capped at 56 hours per week, or 90 hours across two consecutive weeks, resulting in potential variability in shift patterns. Mandatory breaks are required every 4.5 hours of driving: a 45-minute rest, which can be split into one break of 15 minutes followed by another 30 minutes, provided the driving total of 4.5 hours is uninterrupted. An 11-hour daily rest is mandated between driving shifts, though this can be divided into 3 hours plus 9 hours, cumulatively amounting to a 12-hour rest. Furthermore, a total of 45 hours of weekly rest is essential, and you must work up to six consecutive days without taking this weekly rest.
While the regulations may seem complex, they are designed to reflect your work schedule. Your responsibility is to monitor your work and rest hours, ensuring adherence to the guidelines stipulated by your employer.
If the open road calls to you, and the prospect of traversing the landscapes of the UK or Europe behind the wheel excites you—if solitude and the hum of the highway seem like the perfect working environment—then a career in HGV driving might be your calling.
With this trait, you can look forward to a job that lets you grow, earn well, and have stable work for as long as you want, as long as you’re within the right age range. Cause we know there’s always a need for drivers to keep things moving!