How to get a heavy vehicle licence

To drive a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) greater than 4.5 tonnes, you will need a Victorian heavy vehicle licence.

To get a heavy vehicle licence you need to:

  • hold a current Victorian car licence
  • hold or have held an Australian car licence for the minimum time or a lower heavy vehicle category for the required minimum time
  • pass an eyesight test
  • pass a heavy vehicle knowledge test
  • pass an on-road heavy vehicle driving assessment
  • pass an off-road heavy vehicle skills assessment
  • complete a formal training course (heavy combination and multi-combination applicants only)
  • meet national medical standards for private and commercial vehicle drivers
  • pay the licence variation fee
The assessments are conducted by VicRoads Accredited Providers.

National heavy vehicle driver competency and assessment standards

VicRoads has national standards for competency and assessment of heavy vehicle drivers. Heavy vehicle accredited providers apply these standards in all competency assessments.

This provides a nationally consistent approach for heavy vehicle driver licensing. This involves introducing a common set of national requirements that will be applied to the issuing of a national heavy vehicle driver licence and developing a competency and assessment framework.

The new standards enhance the safe driving of heavy vehicles by having a quality and rigorous national assessment and simplifies recognition of assessment practices throughout Australia.

The standards enhance the safe driving of heavy vehicles by having a national assessment and simplify recognition of assessment practices throughout Australia.

To be eligible to get a heavy vehicle licence you must gain experience driving smaller vehicles before you move on to driving larger, more complex vehicles.

The licence categories page includes the minimum holding times for an Australian car licence or heavy vehicle licence category before you attempt to complete the heavy vehicle test for a heavy vehicle licence category.

You can only drive vehicles in the category for which you are licensed, or vehicles in lesser categories.

Suspension periods

Any period where you have been suspended or disqualified from driving is excluded when calculating the minimum time you are required to hold an Australian driver licence.

Probationary licence holders

Probationary P1 and P2 driver licence holders may apply for a heavy vehicle licence. The minimum holding periods apply.

Fines Victoria

If you have a Fines Victoria sanction when you take an assessment, the test results won’t be valid, and you’ll need to pay for a new test (no refunds are available).

If you pass the assessments and then have a Fines Victoria sanction applied to your licence, you won’t be able to add the heavy vehicle category to your licence until the sanction is removed.

The easiest way to check whether or not you have a sanction is to sign up for a myVicRoads account and check your licence status.

As the first step in your training, read the latest edition of The Victorian Bus and Truck Drivers’ Handbook.

Learning to drive a heavy vehicle on the road

Professional training can be provided by an accredited heavy vehicle training and testing provider, a driving school or your employer.

If you know a person with a heavy vehicle licence, that person is allowed to help with your training, as long as that person has a current Australian licence for the type of vehicle that you are learning to drive.

When you are learning to drive a truck or bus, you must always display DRIVER UNDER INSTRUCTION plates at the front and back of the vehicle. These plates must meet the following requirements:

A driver under instruction plate with measurements for a heavy vehicle

Training to drive a bus

The bus industry has its own system for training bus drivers. If you drive trucks and want to be a bus driver, the bus company that employs you will let you know if you need special training.

You will need to apply for a Commercial Passenger Vehicle and Bus Driver Accreditation to drive a commercial or local bus in Victoria. Visit the Taxi Services Commission website (External link) or call 1800 638 802 (toll-free) or 03 8683 0768 for more information.

Accredited providers conduct all heavy vehicle licence assessments on behalf of VicRoads.

To organise your heavy vehicle licence tests contact an accredited provider.

When making your booking you must advise the accredited provider if you:

  • are currently disqualified from driving in Australia
  • have ever been disqualified from driving or refused a driver licence or learner permit in Australia
  • have ever had your driver licence or learner permit cancelled or suspended
  • wear corrective lenses or a hearing aid or have a medical condition(s) or physical disability that may affect your fitness to drive
  • are taking any prescribed medication

Fees

Fees for your assessments are payable directly to the accredited provider. Contact an accredited provider to find out the fees for your assessment.

After successfully completing the assessments, the accredited provider will provide you with a Certificate of Competence that is valid for 12 months. Within 12 months of the issue date you must visit a VicRoads Customer Service Centre to endorse your driver licence with the heavy vehicle category. You must:

  • present your Certificate of Competence
  • present your licence application form that has been completed by the accredited provider
  • present your driver licence or evidence of identity
  • pay the licence variation fee
  • have a photo taken

You will be issued with a receipt and your driver licence card will then be sent to you in approximately 7 - 10 working days.

You can only drive vehicles in the categories shown on your driver licence and vehicles in lesser categories.

Carriage of licence

A heavy vehicle licence holder driving or in charge of a vehicle greater than 15 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM) or a bus must carry their licence card or receipt at all times when driving.

Zero Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

You must have a zero blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at all times if you are the driver of a large vehicle.

A large vehicle is defined as:

  • a bus, or
  • a motor vehicle (other than a bus) that is being used as a single unit and has a GVM greater than 15 tonnes, or
  • a motor vehicle (other than a bus) that is being used in combination with one or more trailers and has a GVM greater than 15 tonnes.

Work diaries

In accordance with National Heavy Vehicle Law drivers of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles who drive 100km or more from their home base or operate under Basic Fatigue Management or Advanced Fatigue Management must complete a work diary to record their work and rest times.

To find out more information about Fatigue Management visit the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website (External link)

Heavy Vehicle licence holders can get a work diary from any VicRoads Customer Service Centre by paying a fee. You must apply in person and present current drivers licence. If you are applying for a replacement to an existing work diary, you must also present your current work diary.

Transmission types

Synchromesh Transmission

When applying for a heavy vehicle licence, if you were tested in a vehicle fitted with a synchromesh transmission you will:

  • have a synchromesh (B) condition placed on your licence, and
  • only be permitted to drive a heavy vehicle with a synchromesh or an automatic transmission, and
  • if you were a holder of a probationary driver licence with an automatic condition, the A condition will be removed and the synchromesh (B) condition will be applied to your licence.

If you already hold a Victorian, interstate or New Zealand heavy vehicle licence which does not have a B restriction, then a B restriction will not be imposed.

Removing Synchromesh Transmission restriction

If you wish to drive non-synchromesh vehicles (commonly known as crash boxes, constant-mesh or ‘Road Ranger’ gears) and hold a driver licence with a 'B' condition, you will have to be re-tested in a vehicle fitted with that type of transmission.

If you get your automatic bus and truck driver licence while you hold a manual car driver licence, the synchromesh (‘B’) condition will apply immediately.

Contact an accredited provider to book in your test to remove the B condition.

You can apply for an exemption from the heavy vehicle restrictions on grounds of hardship or previous experience.

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