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How to Get an HGV Licence

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NSW has strict requirements for an HGV licence, and they require specific steps that ensure the capacity of applicants. This post will discuss how to get an HGV licence in NSW.

What are the types of HGV licences?

There are different types of HGV licences available, and the type depends on the vehicle in question. These types include the following:

  • Light Rigid (LR) Licence: Small trucks and buses
  • Medium Rigid (MR) Licence: Medium-sized buses and medium rigid trucks
  • Heavy Rigid (HR) Licence: Large or articulated buses and heavy rigid trucks
  • Heavy Combination (HC) Licence: This refers to heavy articulated vehicles, or those with pivoted bars.
  • Multi Combination (MC) Licence: These are multi-combination vehicles, like prime movers, B-doubles, road trains, trailer combinations, and loader dollies.

The licence types mentioned above are from the lowest to the highest level. Licence holders can drive vehicles classified below their licence level.

Also, drivers who want to move up a licence level must complete the requirements, and these vary from one level to another. The minimum requirements are below:

  • Light Rigid Licence and Medium Rigid Licence: Applicants must have a Class C or equivalent licence. In addition, the applicant must have held the licence for at least a year before application.
  • Heavy Rigid Licence: Applicants must have a Class C or equivalent licence. In addition, the applicant must have held the licence for at least two full years before application.
  • Heavy Combination Licence: Applicants must have had an HR or MR licence for at least a full year prior to application.
HGC licenses

What are the requirements for an HGV licence?

Aside from the specific licence prerequisites mentioned above for each level, there are other requirements and classes that applicants must accomplish. These include:

1. Heavy Vehicle Knowledge Test

Applicants must first pass the Heavy Vehicle Knowledge Test before they become eligible to apply for any HGV licence level. This is quite similar to the Driver Knowledge Test (DKT) that all potential drivers take when starting.

The Heavy Vehicle Knowledge Test itself is a computer-based exam that focuses on how heavy vehicles operate. It’s a series of 45 questions regarding rules and safety and specific to the following:

  • Heavy Vehicle Rigid Test: Those who want to apply for LR, MR, and HR licences must take this test.
  • Heavy Vehicle Combination Test: Those applying for HC and MC should take this level.

Luckily, the NSW government provides recommended points of study to prepare for these tests. These include the Road User Handbook, Load Restraint Guides, and the Heavy Vehicle Driver Handbook.

Lastly, take note of the following information regarding the Heavy Vehicle Knowledge Test:

  • Language: Aside from English, the test is also available in Chinese, Croatian, Arabic, Serbian, Korean, Greek, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Turkish. Applicants who cannot understand any of the languages mentioned above are eligible for interpreter services.
  • Audio test: Those who have trouble with a written test can request an audio version of the questions. These applicants need only inform the tester of their need for an audio version beforehand.
  • Requirements: On the testing day, applicants must produce proof of identity and their application form.
  • Retaking the test: Those who fail the examination may retake it on the same day or another date. Take note that every new testing attempt will cost the applicant.

2. Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment Training

After the Heavy Vehicle Knowledge test, the Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment (HVCBA) is one of the two steps that may follow. This is the most common way of acquiring an HGV licence in NSW.

The HVCBA has some rather strict requirements that all applicants must accomplish. These requirements are:

  • A passing grade in the Heavy Vehicle Knowledge Test
  • A completed licence application form and the corresponding application fee
  • Proof of identity
  • A complete medical assessment for those applying for an MC licence
  • An eyesight test, although this is waivable under special circumstances

Those interested in the HVCBA can get training and take the assessment from any Registered Training Operation (RTO). In addition, all trainees get an HVCBA logbook which records all progress. This logbook is an important requirement in the later steps of applying.

3. Final Competency Assessment

The Final Competency Assessment, or FCA, is the last step of the HVCBA. This is a practical test that assesses the progress of the applicant.

If the applicant passes, the RTO will then send the results of the FCA to the appropriate government agency (TfNSW).

4. Alternative: Heavy Vehicle Driving Test

The HVCBA is not available in all parts of NSW. Applicants with no access to an RTO that offers HVCBA can instead take a Heavy Vehicle Driving Test. These are available in different Service NSW centres.

5. Licence

Once all the necessary training and examinations are complete, the applicant may go to a Service NSW centre to obtain the licence.

HGV Licence training

Other important information regarding the HGV licence

Other important information that potential applicants must know are as follows:

  • Learning and testing in one’s vehicle

Those who want to learn and test in their vehicle for the HVCBA may request to do so if their vehicle passes the requirements. These requirements are:

  • HR Licence: Minimum 3-axle rigid with >15-tonne GVM without the bobtail
  • HC Licence: Minimum 3-axle rigid, minimum of 2-axle trailer, or >9-tonne GVM
  • MC Licence: Minimum 3-axle prime mover, A and B trailer available, bogie axles attached. Rated B-double and a minimum length of 22 metres.
  • Unavailable vehicles for testing

The following are not usable vehicles for HVCBA learning and testing:

  • Vehicles that are loaded with dangerous items or livestock
  • Unsafe vehicles
  • Armoured security vehicle
  • Vehicles with two steering wheels
  • Buses loaded with passengers
  • Any vehicle showing its Trader number plate

Most Australian states are strict with HGV licence requirements, so it’s wise for potential applicants to acquire training from a competent teacher. Make sure to do a background check and contact only a trusted transport and training provider in your state or region.

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