Changes to Heavy Goods Vehicle and bus driving tests from autumn 2021

Some rules about learning to drive an Heavy Goods Vehicle and bus or coach are going to change later in 2021. The changes affect:

  • what you’re allowed to learn to drive and take your driving test in

  • how the driving test works

Lorries

You currently have to learn to drive and pass a driving test in a large rigid lorry (category C) before you can learn to drive and take a test in a large articulated lorry (category C+E).

The law is going to change so that you’ll be able to:

  • learn to drive in an articulated lorry when you get your first provisional lorry licence

  • take your test in a large articulated lorry without having to pass one in a large rigid lorry first

You’ll still be able to learn to drive and take a driving test in a large rigid lorry (category C) if you do not want to drive anything larger.

When you pass your test in a large articulated lorry, you’ll then be allowed to drive:

  • a medium-sized lorry (C1)

  • a medium-sized lorry towing a trailer (C1+E)

  • a large rigid lorry (C)

  • a large articulated lorry (C+E)

The law will change as soon as possible, but the date has not yet been confirmed. Sign up for email alerts to be told when the date is confirmed.

Medium-sized lorries

This change will also apply to medium-sized lorries towing a trailer (category C1+E).

This means you’ll be able to learn to drive a medium-sized lorry towing a trailer (category C1+E) and take your test in one, without having to pass a test in a medium-sized lorry (category C1) first.

When you pass your test in a medium-sized lorry towing a trailer, you’ll then be allowed to drive:

  • a medium-sized lorry (C1)

  • a medium-sized lorry towing a trailer (C1+E)

Buses and coaches

You currently have to learn to drive and pass a driving test in a bus or coach (category D) before you can learn to drive and take a test in a bus or coach towing a trailer (category D+E).

The law is going to change so that you’ll be able to:

  • learn to drive in a bus or coach towing a trailer when you get your first provisional bus licence

  • take your test in a bus or coach towing a trailer without having to pass one in just a bus or coach first

You’ll still be able to learn to drive and take a driving test in a bus or coach (category D) if you do not want to tow trailers.

When you pass your test in a bus or coach towing a trailer, you’ll then be allowed to drive:

  • a minibus (D1)

  • a minibus towing a trailer (D1+E)

  • a bus or coach (D)

  • a bus or coach towing a trailer (D+E)

Minibuses

This change will also apply to minibuses towing a trailer (category D1+E).

This means you’ll be able to learn to drive a minibus towing a trailer (category D1+E) and take your test in one, without having to pass a test in just a minibus (category D1) first.

When you pass your test in a minibus towing a trailer, you’ll then be allowed to drive:

  • a minibus (D1)

  • a minibus towing a trailer (D1+E)

Until the law changes later in autumn 2021, you must continue to follow the current rules about what you’re allowed to drive when you’re a learner driver.

You can be fined up to £1,000, be banned from driving and get up to 6 penalty points on your driving licence if you drive a vehicle that’s not on your driving licence.

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) part 3 (driving ability) test is 1 of the 4 tests you have to pass to drive a lorry or bus for a living.

The test is going to be split into 2 parts:

  • Driver CPC part 3a (off-road exercises) test

  • Driver CPC part 3b (on-road driving) test

The date the test will be split into 2 parts has not yet been confirmed. 

Until the law changes, you need to continue following the existing rules about learning to drive a lorry or bus.

Driver CPC part 3a (off-road exercises) test

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will allow training organisations to carry out the Driver CPC part 3a test.

The person who trains you will not be allowed to carry out your Driver CPC part 3a test - it will need to be another trainer.

The off-road exercises will still include:

  • an ‘S’ shaped reverse into a bay

  • showing the uncoupling and recoupling procedure if you’re taking a test with a trailer

The test will still be assessed to the same standard.

You will need to pass the Driver CPC part 3a test before you can take the Driver CPC part 3b test.

Driver CPC part 3b (on-road driving) test

DVSA will continue to provide the Driver CPC part 3b test.

The test will still include:

  • vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions)

  • practical on-road driving

The driving test appointment time will reduce slightly because the off-road exercises will have already been tested.