Although your driving licence may look like a small piece of plastic, it holds a lot more information than you may think. There are various types of vehicles you can drive on public roads in the UK, and these categories are featured on the back of your driving licence. Whether you want to drive a car or lorry – you are required to have an entitlement for that category on your driving licence. This article explains everything you need to know about what is on your driving licence and what it all means.
All driving licences are still issued in a format that’s similar to the EU standard. This comes in the form of a plastic photocard.
The front of your licence features the following:
– The first five letters of your surname. If your surname is less than five characters, the remaining spaces will include the number 9.
– Then there will be a sequence of numbers and letters. The first and last numbers are your birth year, whilst the second and third numbers are your birth month. It’s worth noting that for female driving licence holders – the number 5 is added to the second digit.
– The fourth and fifth numbers are the date of the month you were born in.
– The next two letters will comprise of the first two initials of your forenames. If you only have one initial, then the second character will be replaced by the number 9.
– The last three numbers/characters will be computer check digits.
The back of your driving licence features:
Driving Licence Categories
After you have obtained a full driving licence, you may decide to upgrade your entitlement so you can drive other vehicles professionally for work. For example, if you will be driving a bus, coach or lorry commercially, you must complete your Driver CPC to gain a Driver Qualification Card (DQC). The different categories include:
How to Get an HGV Licence
If you are wanting to upgrade your entitlement – you may be wondering how to get an HGV (or LGV) licence. Firstly, both are the same thing, the only difference is that HGV stands for Heavy Goods Vehicle whilst LGV stands for Large Goods Vehicle.
The HGV licence permits people to drive trucks or lorries which are more than 3.5 tonnes. You will see that people refer to HGV Class 1 or Class 2 licences, as well as 7.5 tonnes. An HGV class 1 licence allows you to drive a category C+E vehicle (artic lorry) whilst a HGV class 2 licence allows you to drive a category C vehicle (rigid lorry). Both are effective for 5 years and are issued by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency).
HGV licences are categorised under the following:
In order to qualify for an HGV licence, you must be above the age of 18 and pass the theory and practical test.
If you are looking to drive commercially, we offer Driver CPC online courses – exceptional training at a great price. Or alternatively, if you’re considering a career in logistics management, you may also be interested in our Transport Manager CPC courses – which are also available online.
How to Get a PCV Licence
PCV stands for Passenger Carrying Vehicle, and the conditions for acquiring a PCV licence are largely similar to those for goods vehicles. If you are planning to drive for hire and reward (paid to drive minibus or bus as part of your job) you will require a PCV entitlement.
There are two categories with a PCV licence:
All PCV drivers are now required to have a Driver CPC card to be able to drive commercially. As with HGV licences, a PCV licence is also valid for 5 years.
In terms of Brexit, the majority of UK drivers will still be able to use their normal driving licence to drive in EU countries. However, there are some exceptions, and in some instances, an International Driving Permit (IDP) may be required. These exceptions include:
You can check here, if you require an IDP for the country you are planning to drive in, and to purchase one you can do so at Post Offices from £5.50.
Even if your UK photocard driving licence features an EU flag on it, it will still be accepted in the UK until the expiration date imprinted on it.
Professional drivers who work for a UK firm and hold a CPC card can carry on using their card to drive to/through EU countries. However, UK CPC cards held by drivers employed by an EU company may no longer be accepted in EU countries. This matter should be checked with the companies themselves.
Don’t put your Driver CPC off – if you’d like to talk to us about how we can help, call us on 0808 178 9977 or chat to one of our agents right now.