'Laden testing' rules for driving test vehicles

The rules about carrying a minimum weight that lorries, buses, coaches and cars with trailers need to meet to be used for driving tests.

About the rules

A real total mass requirement for vehicles used for driving tests was introduced on 15 November 2013.

This means that vehicles must carry a minimum weight in order to be used for the driving test.

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

Vehicles affected by the rules

The rules will affect vehicles in the categories in the table below.

Vehicle category Vehicle description
C Rigid lorry
C+E Articulated lorry or large lorry and trailer

Trailers affected

The rules will also affect vehicle trailers used in the categories in the table below.

Vehicle category Vehicle description
B+E Car and trailer
C1+E Medium sized goods vehicle and trailer
D1+E Minibus and trailer
D+E Bus or coach and trailer

Rules for vehicles

Vehicles used in these categories of tests must have a load as shown in the table.

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
B+E, C1+E, D1+E and D+E Trailers 800 kg 600 kg of aggregates or 1 IBC of 1,000 kg or 600 kg capacity when filled with water

Rules about the load

The load requirement is:

  • bagged aggregates like sand, stone chippings, gravel or any other recycled material packages (but not toxic materials) in sealed transparent bags - the bags must:
    • all weigh the same
    • be at least 10 kg
    • have the weight clearly stamped on them
  • water, in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) which are made from semi-transparent moulded plastic usually reinforced with a wire framework

The examiner may need to inspect an IBC used as ‘load’ for the test, so it’s important that they can visually check 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 cannot be more than the maximum authorised mass (MAM).

The MAM is the potential weight of a vehicle or trailer including the maximum load that can be carried safely. This is also known as gross vehicle weight (GVW) or permissible maximum weight.

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

These rules also apply to vehicles used for Driver CPC practical tests.

Vehicles used for Driver CPC periodic training don’t have to be laden. You can provide periodic training using a laden vehicle if you want to, but you’ll need to follow certain rules.

If you don’t have an operator’s licence

You must use a vehicle that’s loaded according to the specified load requirements if you don’t have an operator’s licence.

If you have an operator’s licence

You don’t need to use a vehicle that’s loaded according to the specified load requirements if you have an operator’s licence. You can use a vehicle carrying its normal load.

Train in laden vehicles

You can provide training using laden vehicles and use them for tests before 15 November 2013 if you want to. This includes training for:

  • the driving test
  • the Driver CPC initial qualification
  • Driver CPC periodic training

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