UPSKILLING YOUR DRIVERS: LIGHT RIGID (LR) CLASS LICENCE


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Businesses in Australia can’t get enough of the light rigid truck.

Across the country, the use of the light rigid truck has grown more than 21% from 2010 to 2015, according to the most recent Motor Vehicle Census data. Light rigids account for more than 16% cent of all registered rigid trucks.

Perhaps you’ve recently joined the ranks of those who have added some light rigid trucking power to their business? Now you just need to get your staff ready and licensed to get behind the wheel – so you can have all the flexibility and mobility you acquired that truck for in the first place.

In this guide to the Light Rigid (LR) class licence, we discuss some of the key requirements and considerations for that first step in heavy vehicle licensing.

Same but different – jurisdictional variations

All states and territories in Australia have the same licence classes, but the licensing laws and regulations for each class vary according to where you operate. Check the rules that apply to your local authority, as well as the states you’ll be driving in.

ACT      NSW      QLD        NT          WA         SA           VIC         TAS

What can you drive with an LR class licence?

Your Light Rigid (LR) class licence will allow you to get behind the wheel of any vehicle with a GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) of not more than eight tonnes, including small trucks and buses. There is no axle restriction in this class.

You can also tow a trailer, as long as it doesn’t weigh more than nine tonnes (and is within the capacity of the towing vehicle).

Note that even though small buses, which seat more than 12 passengers, fall into this category, you’ll need an ancillary certificate or additional endorsement to carry passengers for hire or reward.

Eligibility

Drivers must have held a car (or ‘C’ class) licence for at least a year before applying for the LR class.

Some jurisdictions specify a minimum age for a heavy vehicle licence application (for example, 19 years of age in Tasmania).

Some transport authorities will require drivers to sit an eye test, and expect private and commercial drivers of a heavy vehicle to meet national medical standards.

Candidates will also have to produce proof of identity and, in some cases, proof of residence (if not already satisfied by the proof of identity document).

Back to school

Each state and territory has its own licence assessment, testing guidelines and processes. However, all require a combination of a theory-based road rules and heavy vehicle knowledge test and a practical driving test.

State and territory transport authorities will suggest a list of approved training providers or assessors, and you’ll usually have to book and sit the test through these organisations.

There’ll be plenty of driving schools to choose from. Approved and accredited schools understand the road authority’s requirements for passing the test. Some trainers include driving simulators and defensive driving techniques in their training repertoire.

Drivers can be trained in one-on-one or group courses, over several days or in a single day. Prices vary depending on your choice. For example, a single day (approximately five hours) of one-on-one training can be upwards of AUD$700 per person.

Alternatively, you can provide your own training but the instructor will have to be suitably qualified and experienced and the vehicle must meet minimum standards for its class.

Getting your drivers off to a good start makes excellent business sense, so choose your instructor carefully. If you decide to opt for a driving school, shop around the accredited training providers recommended by your transport authority.

Benefits

Whether it’s delivering goods or food, shuttling a small bus of passengers where they need to be or transporting general freight, the LR class of licence gives you and your business more options, and the opportunity to grow.

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