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Vehicle Licence Categories

Maximum Goods Vehicle Weights

GVW - Gross Vehicle Weight
GTW - Gross Train Weight
RFS - Road Friendly Suspension (air or air equivalent)



2 axle - 18,000kg
3 axle - 26,000kg*
4 axle - 32,000kg,
outer axle spread at least 6.4m*

26,000kg - three axles**
29,500kg - if trailer has only overrun brakes
36,000kg - four axles**
40,000kg - five axles**
41,000kg - six axles, driving axles not exceeding 10.5 tonnes, trailer axles have RFS, driving axles over 8.5 tonnes have twin tyres or RFS
44,000kg - intermodal transport on six axles, driving axles not exceeding
8.5 tonnes or have RFS or twin tyres


Operations at GVWs above 44 tonnes are covered by Special Types Goods Orders. The number of axles does not necessarily indicate the GVW. Check the tax disc and/or plate

- 2+1 axles
36,000kg - 2+2 axles
38,000kg - two-axle tractor not over 18,000kg with twin tyres and RFS,
plus two-axle trailer with axle weights not exceeding 20,000kg
40,000kg - five-axle combination
41,000kg - six-axle combination; as 41 tonne drawbar
44,000kg - six-axle combination; on intermodal work,
three-axle tractor, then as 44-tonne drawbar


        Maximum axle weight

- single (non-driving)
11,500kg - single (driving)
19,000kg - tandem (driving)
20,000kg - tandem (non-driving)
24,000kg - tri-axle bogie

Note: Maximum axle weights vary
considerably depending on the number of axles, their spacings, outer axle spreads and the type of tyres and suspension, plus the VED category

* Driving axles fitted with twin tyres and RFS or that do not exceed 9.5 tonnes **Distance from rear vehicle axle to front trailer axle is at least 3 metres




Goods Vehicle Driving Licence Categories

GTW - Gross Train Weight (i.e. vehicle and trailer combination)
MPW - Maximum Permitted Weight

Holders of old Class 2 and 3 licences may have grandfather rights to drive C+E, restricted to drawbar outfits; check driver's licence for details

A vehicle not over 3.5 tonnes MPW with not more than eight seats (plus the driver). Plus: a trailer where the trailer’s MPW does not exceed 750kg or the GTW of vehicle and the trailer is not over 3.5 tonnes

Category B vehicle with trailer up to 750kg or GTW of over 3.5 tonnes

Vehicle over 3.5 tonnes but below 7.5 tonnes MPW. May draw a trailer of up to 750kg
(‘Car’ licences issued before January 1997 have automatic rights to drive up to 7.5 tonnes. Licences issued after then do not allow holders to drive vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5
tonnes, which require a C1 test)

Combinations where the prime
mover is greater than 3.5 tonnes but less than 7.5 tonnes MPW and the trailer exceeds
750kg, but not the tractor’s unladen weight, and the combination is below 12 tonnes GTW. (For licences issued prior to 1997, category is restricted to 8.25 tonnes GTW)

Any vehicle exceeding 3.5 tonnes MPW, otherthan those in categories DFGH, including a trailer not over 750kg (i.e. all rigid LGVs – the old HGV Class 2 and 3 licences)

Combinations where the prime
mover is in category C, but the
combination is not in that category (equivalent to old HGV Class 1; covers all articulated and drawbar trailer combinations)








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