Drivers who passed their standard driving test before 1st January 1997 can normally drive a vehicle of up to 7.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) without further testing. Those who passed their test after this date are limited to a maximum GVW of 3.5 tonnes on their existing licence. This means that they can drive large vans such as most derivatives of the Fiat Ducato Van or Renault Master Van and even extra large vans such as the Iveco Daily LWB Van the or Ford Transit Jumbo.
However, as the population ages there is an increasing shortage of drivers qualified to drive vehicles above the 7.5t threshold. This means that more and more tipper operators are looking at downsizing from 7.5t to 3.5t tippers such as those offered by Low Cost Vans.
Unlike their predecessors, drivers who passed their car test after 1 January 1997 do not have an automatic entitlement to drive the former and have to take a separate test if they wish to do so. Many haven't bothered. However, it is important to remember that the 3.5 tonne limit can be exceeded by fitting a trailer to a vehicle.
PSV or Public Service Vehicle licence applies to any vehicle designed to carry 9 or more passengers as well as the driver. Such vehicles include the Ford Transit Minibus, Renault Master Minibus and the Mercedes Sprinter Traveliner, It applies to these vehicles if they are used for Hire or Reward, i.e. where the company is paid for the use of the vehicle. This doesn’t have to mean straight cash payments, a free service bringing people from an airport to a hotel is still considered to be a reward to incentivise customers to use the company’s service.
If you are even slightly unsure on this, or on any of the other regulations which have to be met by both the company and the drivers, check with the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency or VOSA to understand the exact responsibilities.
"O" or Operator Licence
This is the licence that applies to practically all operators of vehicles over 3.5t GTW (see Operating Weight Limits). This licence sets out a number of different criteria which have to be met by both the driver and the operating company. Companies which have O licences are also subject to random inspections by VOSA to ensure that they are operating their fleet to the correct standards. These include things such as the fitting of tachographs, driver’s working hours, vehicle servicing timescales and towing trailers.
Drivers and employers will soon have to get to grips with yet another legislative change; the introduction of a compulsory driver's Certificate of Professional Competence from September 2009. Futher details are to be found on our Driver Training page
Looking for a new van or light commercial?
Call Low Cost Vans on 0845 22 44 125
or complete our online enquiry form