If you’re looking to hire a truck, you should first look into the licensing requirements. In Australia, you can hire and drive light trucks with just a standard car licence. However, any truck with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of more than 4.5 tonnes will require you to hold a heavy vehicle licence.
Before booking a hire truck, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of the size vehicle you will need and the licence requirements you will need to satisfy before you can hire and drive the truck.
Of course, different truck hire companies will have different guidelines when it comes to their specific licence requirements. However, here are the official licence requirements as laid out by VicRoads.
Standard Car Licence
Say, for example, that you’re moving house and you need something a little bigger than a ute. Well, the good news is that you don’t need a truck licence to hire a moving van. According to VicRoads, with a standard car licence you are allowed to drive a vehicle that does not exceed 4.5 tonnes GVM. These generally include moving vans and light trucks.
What is a Heavy Vehicle Licence?
If you’re looking to hire a larger truck, then you will need a heavy vehicle licence. The National Transport Commission, together with the state and territory roads organisations, developed a single heavy vehicle licensing system consisting of five licence categories. Each licence has different eligibility requirements and allows you to drive a different type of truck.
- Light Rigid (LR) Licence
A light rigid licence allows you to drive a vehicle with a GVM more than 4.5 tonnes but less than 8 tonnes or a vehicle that seats more than 12 adults but that doesn’t exceed 8 tonnes GVM. This includes cars, light rigid trucks, non-articulated buses, tractors, or any of these vehicles plus a single trailer that has a GVM not more than 9 tonnes. To apply for a LR licence, you must have held an Australian car licence for more than 12 months.
- Medium Rigid (MR) Licence
A medium rigid licence allows you to drive a vehicle with a GVM more than 8 tonnes but with no more than two axles. This includes any vehicle covered by a LR licence, as well as medium rigid vehicles. To apply for a MR licence, you must have held an Australian car licence for more than 12 months.
- Heavy Rigid (HR) Licence
A heavy rigid licence allows you to drive a vehicle with a GVM more than 8 tonnes that has three or more axles. This includes any vehicle covered by a MR licence, as well as heavy rigid vehicles. To apply for a MR licence, you must have held an Australian car licence for more than 24 months.
- Heavy Combination (HC) Licence
A heavy combination licence allows you to drive a prime mover with a single semi-trailer with a GVM more than 9 tonnes. You can also drive any rigid vehicle with a trailer more than 9 tonnes GVM. This includes any vehicles covered by an HR licence and any heavy combination vehicle. To apply for a HC licence, you must have held an Australian car licence for more than 24 months and a MR or HR licence for at least 12 months.
- Multi Combination (MC) Licence
With a MC licence, you can drive any vehicle or combination of vehicles (except a motorcycle). To apply for a MC licence, you must have held an Australian HC or HR licence for at least 12 months.
How to get a Heavy Vehicle Licence
To get a heavy vehicle licence in Victoria you must first be eligible, then meet the necessary criteria as set out by VicRoads, then pass the appropriate assessments before lodging your licence application with VicRoads.
To be eligible for a heavy vehicle licence you must have held the applicable licence category for the minimum amount of time. Any suspension periods will be excluded from the minimum time period and any outstanding fines must be cleared before commencing assessment.
Once eligible, you must pass an eyesight test and a heavy vehicle knowledge test. After that, you will be required to carry out an on-road heavy vehicle driving assessment and an off-road heavy vehicle skills assessment. HC and MC applicants will also be required to complete a formal training course. You may also need to meet national medical standards for private and commercial vehicle drivers.
Once you have completed these steps you will need to have your licence endorsed by VicRoads and pay the licence fee.
If you’re planning on hiring a truck, make sure you first understand the necessary licensing requirements.