A handy, no-nonsense guide to Driving Licence Categories
Understanding the different licences can be quite confusing, especially when you talk to various different people. Many people still refer to the licences with the old classifications of names, and others simply confuse the categories for others. The DVLA website does have information on each category, but navigating the site can be confusing and cumbersome.
Often we get people attendind the site with absolutely no understanding of what each class of licence means, and what they will be able to drive. Some people think that their licence will let them drive certain classifications of vehicles when they don't. Understanding the licence and the requirements can be difficult, so we have developed this handy guide to help you understand the different choices you have, and to help you choose the best and most efficient path to your Professional Driving Career.
The Category BE licence is an addition to the standard driving licence (Category B) and permits the driver to tow a trailer on their vehicle, with a MAM or Maximum Total Weight (Trailer + Goods) of 3,500kg – 3.5t.
Some licence holders (who passed their driving test before 1st January 1996) may or may not have BE on their licence. Anyone who passed their BE test before 19th Jan 2013 can tow an unlimited weight.
Training for BE not only allows drivers to legally tow, but also teaches them the vital skills they will need to successfully tow a trailer, including hitching and unhitching and reversing. Even for drivers who have BE on their licence without passing a test would benefit from the training, but wouldn’t need to sit an official test.
Anyone looking to tow a trailer, caravan, horsebox or similar on with a car, where the total weight will be less than 3,500kg.
The Category C licence allows the driver to take control of a vehicle over 3,500kg (3.5t) in weight, even with a trailer with an MAM up to 750kg (trailer weight + weight of goods).
These vehicles are fixed, also known as rigids. Often, this licence is still referred to by its old name of Class 2. By passing this qualification, you instantly obtain your Category C1 licence, which has a limit of 7.5t.
Any driver who wishes to drive a large vehicle over 3.5t, but doesn’t want to drive articulated lorries.
The Category CE licence is similar to the C licence, but it permits you to tow a trailer with an MAM of over 750kg.
This includes articulated lorries, as the back of an articulated lorry is actually a trailer. This is often referred to by its old name of Class 1. This is the highest category of Large Vehicle training and allows you to also drive category C1E vehicles too. You cannot pass this licence without first passing your Category C licence however.
Anyone who is looking it be able to drive all categories of LGV (Light Goods Vehicles) including articulated lorries.
The category D licence allows you to drive large Public Carrying Vehicles (PCVs) with a trailer with a MAM of 750kg.
Passing this licence also allows you to drive category D1 Vehicles (vehicles with more than 16 seats)
Anyone looking to drive a PCV such as a large Minibus (16+ seats), coaches or buses.
The Category DE Licence allows you to drive a large Public Carrying Vehicle (PCV) with a trailer with a MAM over 750kg.
This is the highest level of PCV licence you can obtain, and also permits you to drive class D1E vehicles with a maximum overall MAM of 12,000kg (D1E Vehicle + Trailer + Goods inc. passengers).
Anyone looking for the highest level of PCV licence.
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