Lorry or Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers collect, transport and deliver goods throughout the UK and abroad. LGVs carry a wide variety of goods including some that are dangerous, such as chemicals or nuclear waste.
You could be:
planning the shortest or best route to take, or following a route decided by management
checking lights, brakes, fuel and tyres before and during journeys
making sure the load is safe and secure, using ropes and sheeting when necessary
following all rules of the road, such as speed and weight limits
taking rests from driving, as laid down by official regulations
using an analogue or digital tachograph or smart card to record driving hours, speeds and distance
making sure the goods are unloaded safely
completing log books and paperwork.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay is usually around £9.00 an hour and with experience might rise to £21.00 an hour.
You will spend long hours sitting alone in the driver’s cab.
You may have to spend long or short periods away from home.
On some occasions, you may have to eat and sleep in the truck. Many vehicles have sleeping bunks and air conditioning and some may have cookers and fridges.
You might work evenings, nights, early mornings and weekends.
You would have to keep to the EU rules on maximum daily and weekly driving hours.
Some jobs may involve heavy lifting and the work can be physically demanding.
You might wear a uniform, depending on the company you work for.
A good general education is useful, including reasonable ability in English and maths. Some employers may prefer you to have some subjects at National 4 or 5.
You need to have a large goods vehicle (LGV) licence and the Driver Certificate of Competence (CPC). The minimum age requirement to start training is 18 and you must first hold a full UK car licence.
There are two main types of licence: Category C1 for vehicles weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes (with or without a trailer up to 750kg) and Category C for vehicles weighing over 7.5 tonnes. There is also category E which is used with either category C1 or C and is for trailers weighing more than 750kg. A C+E licence is required to drive an articulated lorry.
When you reach the age of 45, you have to renew your LGV licence every five years. Your doctor has to complete a medical examination report.
Once you have passed the LGV driving test, you must pass the four tests that make up the CPC before obtaining your full licence. You must complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years to keep the CPC.
Companies may train their own drivers, share training with other companies, use a group training association or send their drivers to private driving schools.
You can also train for an LGV licence and Driver CPC privately.
New drivers have to train for, and pass, both the vocational driving licence and the Driver CPC. The length of your training will depend on your level of skill.
If you are doing a Modern Apprenticeship, your employer may put you through the training.
You may later take additional, specialist qualifications, which allow you to drive other heavy vehicles or vehicles carrying dangerous loads, such as the ADR Licence (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road).
With experience and further training, you might move on to supervisory work or haulage management.
There are also opportunities in specialised areas of driving, such as transporting extremely large or hazardous loads that may require a police escort.
Some drivers become self-employed and own their vehicle. In some cases, this can lead to setting up their own company and running a fleet of lorries.
The DVSA replaced the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) in April 2014. Its aim is to promote road safety through improving driving standards, testing drivers, motorcyclists and driving instructors, maintaining the registers of Approved Driving Instructors and Large Goods Vehicle Instructors and supervising training for learner motorcyclists.