It never ceases to amaze us the number of calls we get for truck insurance quotes from truck owners who do not have an operator licence. Even more astounding is the percentage of those enquiring who do not even know that they need an operator’s licence. The simple fact is that if you want to carry goods in connection with your trade or business you will need a truck operator’s licence – that’s the law in the UK and the EU.
Of course, as with so many things in law there are exceptions and these exceptions can be about as clear as year-old engine oil. So, to try and make things clearer here is Coversure Dudley’s guide to the operator licence. We hope it will remove any confusion, but if you would like any more help or truck advice or would like to get a truck insurance quote, then please get in touch. You can call us on Dudley (01384) 671 270, email us by clicking here or send us a message here.
Who Needs A Licence?
There are two types of vehicle that require one of these. You need one if:
*You have a truck, lorry, van or any other type of vehicle that weighs more than 3.5 tonnes and you are using it to carry goods or burden (stuff other than passengers in other words) that is connected with your business or your trade. Even if you use your vehicle for this purpose for a short period of time – as part of a seasonal work, such as bringing in a harvest – or even for one day, you still need to have one.
- Your truck, lorry, van or other type of vehicle has an unladen weight of more than 1,525 kg. The Department of Transport (DoT) defines an unladen weight as the weight of the vehicle when it’s not carrying any passengers, goods or other items. It does include the body and all parts normally used with the vehicle or trailer when it’s used on the road, but it doesn’t include any fuel in the tank or batteries if it’s an electric powered vehicle.
What Types of Licence Are There?
There are three different types of operator licence and these vary according to the sort of work you will be doing in your truck, where you transport these goods to and from, and who you do it for. These different types are:
A Standard National
This allows you to carry your own goods in the UK and internationally and other people’s goods in the UK. It also allows you to take loaded trailers to and from ports within the UK as part of an international journey, just as long as your vehicles don’t leave the country.
A Standard International
This licence means you can carry your own goods and other people’s goods, both in the UK and on international journeys. Having one of these qualifies you to request so-called ‘Community Licences’* which give you the freedom to:
- Make trips between all EU member countries
- Transit traffic through EU member countries
- Undertake ‘cabotage’ jobs. Cabotage is the haulage of goods for hire or reward in one EU member state by a vehicle registered in a different member state
*What effect Brexit will have on this remains to be seen, but it is likely that post 2019 that things will change. We will keep you posted.
A Restricted Licence
As you might expect, a restricted licence will restrict your activities; specifically it will allow you to transport your own goods, but not other people’s goods.
Please note: To qualify for any of the above you must ensure that your drivers have the correct driving licence and that your vehicles are taxed, have appropriate truck insurance cover and are in good overall condition.
How Long Will It Last?
Unlike some other licences – your HGV licence for example – these do not last forever and you will need to renew them every five years by paying a fee. The fee currently stands at £401.
Are There Any Exemptions To These Rules?
There are exceptions to the rules, the principle ones being that you don’t need an operator’s licence for your truck if:
- Your vehicle was first used before 1977
- Your vehicle has an unladen weight of 1,525 kilograms or less
- Your vehicle has a maximum gross plated weight of over 3,500 kilograms
- Your vehicle has been using public roads for less than 6 miles a week whilst moving between private premises belonging to the same person as the vehicle (if the vehicle’s used for excavation or demolition it doesn’t matter who it belongs to)
- Your vehicle is being used on trade plates
- Your vehicle is a passenger carrying vehicle such as a bus or a coach
How Can You Apply For A Licence?
You can apply for your licence for your heavy goods vehicle through the DoT’s website or by following this link.
Like Some More Help?
Well we hope that’s cleared that up for you. If, however, you would like some more help or advice regarding them or how you can get the truck insurance that’s right for your business, then please get in touch. You can call us on Dudley (01384) 671270, email us by clicking here or get a truck insurance quote here.