Guidance

Rules for lorries used for driving tests

Lorries used for practical driving tests have to meet certain rules, and some vehicles and trailers must also carry a minimum weight.

About the rules

Lorries used in the practical tests have to meet certain rules. Some vehicles and trailers must also carry a minimum weight.

Your test will be cancelled and you’ll lose your fee if your vehicle doesn’t meet the rules.

Rules for all types of lorries

All vehicles used for category C1, C1+E, C and C+E tests must be capable of 50mph.

They must be fitted with:

  • L-plates (‘L’ or ‘D’ plates in Wales) on the front and rear
  • 2 sets of externally mounted nearside and offside mirrors - one for the driver and one for the examiner
  • seat belts fitted to seats used by the examiner or any person supervising the test
  • a tachograph
  • an anti-lock braking system (ABS) - trailers don’t need to be fitted with ABS

A tractor unit is not a suitable vehicle for a category C or C1 test.

All trailer cargo compartments must be:

  • of a closed box construction
  • at least as high and wide as the towing vehicle

For C1+E the trailer may be slightly less wide than the towing vehicle, but the view to the rear must be by the use of external mirrors only.

Rules for medium-sized lorries: categories C1 and C1+E

A category C1 vehicle is a medium-sized lorry:

  • with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of at least 4 tonnes
  • at least 5 metres long
  • with a closed box cargo compartment at least as wide and as high as the cab

MAM is the maximum weight of the vehicle including the maximum load that can be carried safely while used on the road. This is also known as ‘gross vehicle weight’.

There are 2 types of vehicle that you can use for the category C1+E test:

  • a drawbar combination of a category C1 vehicle towing a trailer of at least 2 tonnes MAM with a combined length of at least 8 metres
  • a medium-sized articulated lorry with a MAM of at least 6 tonnes with a combined length of at least 8 metres

Rules for large goods lorries: categories C and C+E

Category C vehicles are large goods lorries:

  • with a MAM of at least 12 tonnes
  • at least 8 metres long
  • at least 2.4 metres wide

The vehicle must have a closed box cargo compartment at least as wide and as high as the cab.

Category C+E vehicles must be at least 2.4 metres wide. There are 2 types of C+E test vehicle:

  • a drawbar combination of a category C vehicle and trailer with a MAM of 20 tonnes and a length of at least 7.5 metres from coupling eye to extreme rear and a combined length of at least 14 metres
  • an articulated lorry with a MAM of at least 20 tonnes, a minimum length of 14 metres and maximum length of 16.5 metres

Minimum load requirement

The table shows:

  • which vehicles and trailers need to carry a minimum weight for the test
  • what the minimum load requirements are
Vehicle category Vehicle or trailer affected Minimum real weight Minimum load requirement
C Vehicle 10,000 kg 5 x 1,000 litre IBCs
C+E ‘drawbar’ vehicle Towing lorry and trailer 10,000 kg for lorry and 5,000 kg for trailer 5 x 1,000 litre IBCs (lorry) and 3 x 1,000 litre IBCs (trailer)
C+E articulated lorry Semi-trailer 15,000 kg 8 x 1,000 litre IBCs
C1+E Trailers 800 kg 600 kg of aggregates or one IBC of 1,000 kg or 600 kg capacity when filled with water

Rules about the load

The load can be water or bagged aggregates like sand, stone chippings, gravel or any other recycled material packages (but not toxic materials). Bagged aggregates can only be used for the C1+E category.

Bagged aggregates must be in sealed transparent bags and must:

  • all weigh the same
  • be at least 10kg
  • have the weight clearly stamped on them

Water must be in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) made from semi-transparent moulded plastic usually reinforced with a wire framework.

The examiner can inspect an IBC used as ‘load’ for the test, so it’s important that they can see it has the correct water level.

You can’t use any other type of load.

The load must be secured appropriately onto the vehicle or trailer.

Minimum real weight

The ‘real weight’ is the actual weight of the vehicle and the load combined. This can’t be more than the MAM.

Published 15 November 2013