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What size van can I drive with B licence?

Driving goods vehicles with a car driving licence

The Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) is the total weight of the vehicle plus the maximum load it can carry. This determines the type of driving licence you need to drive LGVs. Details below.

‘C1 and ‘C’ licences

If the vehicle has a MAM between 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes then a category ‘C1’ LGV driving licence is needed, however, if the (MAM) is more than 7.5 tonnes then a category ‘C’ LGV driving licence is needed.

Exempted large goods vehicles

There are special licensing arrangements allowing you to drive larger vehicles without having to hold the higher Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) driving licence entitlement. Holders of a full category B (car) driving licence may drive any of the large vehicles listed below:

  • goods vehicle propelled by steam, for example; coal or wood burning engines
  • road construction vehicles used or kept on the road only for the conveyance of built-in road construction machinery, (with/ without articles or materials used for that machinery)
  • engineering plant (vehicles designed/ constructed for engineering operations)
  • works trucks (primarily designed for use in private premises or in the immediate vicinity; for example; dumper trucks/ forklift trucks)
  • industrial tractors (tractors used mainly for haulage work off the public road, the vehicle mustn’t have an unladen weight exceeding 7,370kgs and have a design speed not exceeding 20mph)
  • agricultural motor vehicles which are not agricultural or forestry tractors (primarily used off the public road; for example, crop sprayer/ combine harvester)
  • digging machines (vehicles which are limited to travel on public roads only for proceeding to/ from sites; for example, vehicles with digging buckets/ shovels)
  • goods vehicle which isn’t used on public roads or, if it is so used during any calendar week, is used only in passing from land in the occupation of a person keeping the vehicle to other land in the occupation of that person and isn’t used on public roads for distances exceeding a total of 9.7 kilometres in that calendar week
  • goods vehicle, other than an agricultural motor vehicle, which is used only for agriculture, horticulture or forestry; that is: used on roads only in passing between different areas of land occupied by the same person; in passing between any two such areas does not travel a distance exceeding 1.5 kilometres on roads
  • goods vehicles used for no purpose other than the haulage of lifeboats and the conveyance of the necessary gear of the lifeboats which are being hauled
  • goods vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1960, used unladen and not drawing a laden trailer
  • articulated goods vehicles not exceeding 3.5 tonnes unladen weight
  • goods vehicle in the service of a visiting force or headquarters as defined in the visiting forces and international headquarters (application of law order 1965 (a))
  • goods vehicle driven by a constable for removing or avoiding obstruction to other road users or other members of the public, for protecting life or property (including the vehicle and its load) or for other similar purposes
  • goods vehicle fitted with apparatus designed for raising a disabled vehicle partly from the ground and for drawing a disabled vehicle when so raised (whether by partial superimposition or any other means) being a vehicle which is used only for dealing with disabled vehicles and isn’t used for the conveyance of any goods or load other than a disabled vehicle when so raised and water, fuel, accumulators and articles required for the operation of, or in connection with, such apparatus or other device for dealing with disabled vehicles and has an unladen weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes
  • mobile project vehicles — having a MAM exceeding 3.5 tonnes and constructed/ adapted to carry not more than eight people plus the driver and carries principally goods or burden consisting of play/ educational equipment and articles required in connection with the use of such equipment; articles required for the purposes of display or of an exhibition, and the primary purpose of which is used as a recreational, educational or instructional facility when stationary; drivers must be aged 21 and have held a category B licence for at least two years (a mobile project vehicle may only be driven on behalf of a non-commercial body — however, drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 are not under these conditions)
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Mobile cranes

A category C1 driving licence is required to drive a mobile crane weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes and category C if over 7.5 tonnes.

Minimum ages

Driving an exempted goods vehicle is determined by its weight. Vehicles with a MAM weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes may be driven at age 18 years. Vehicles which weigh more than 7.5 tonnes can be driven from the age of 21 years.

Vehicle classifications for driver licensing purposes

Categories of vehicles and their descriptions can be found on the link below. Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) can’t give legal advice on how vehicles are classified but, generally speaking it depends on the weight of the vehicle or the number of passengers it can carry.

  • Motorcycles, cars and other vehicles you can ride or drive and minimum ages
  • Buses and lorries you can drive and minimum ages

More useful links

  • How to tell DVA about a medical condition
  • The driving licence you need to tow a caravan or trailer

Truck Rental in Ireland: What exactly can I drive on my Car license?


Ok, it’s time to put your hand in your back pocket and pull out you car license. The license itself contains information about different categories of vehicles and the constraints of each class. Most of us who have completed our driving test will have the category “B” license.

The “B” category allows people to drive trucks with a GVW of up to 3500kgs. The gross vehicle weight is the combined body weight of the truck chassis, body and payload.

For you, the truck rental customer it is very important that you specify to the truck rental company exactly what you are carrying. Quite often when we are dealing with truck hire enquiries on the phone and we start asking questions about what the customer is carrying, people can feel that we are being a little intrusive. When one of our truck rental representatives is asking about what you need to move, he is trying to ascertain what exact weight and volume that is required to be moved.

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Also, you may find the truck rental representative asking you about how the distance between your houses if you are a house mover or the number of drops and runs if you are a courier company. This is so we can tell of you are in a position to do multiple runs if you have a high payload requirement and are operating on a car license.

It is not uncommon for a truck hire customer to arrive for a vehicle collection and mention in passing that he has six pallets of tiles that need to be transported from Dublin to Cork. Our reaction is usually a vehicle upgrade to a “C” class rental truck that can carry 4000kgs rather than a 1000kgs car licence tail lift truck.

Why is this?

When we get back to the GVW of the small hire trucks and the car licence user, we know what legal payload the truck can carry. Our light hire trucks are designed to be as light as possible within the constraints of construction. The real difficulty for the house mover or Transport Company is to figure out their payload requirement. The example of the tiles from above illustrates such a case. Each pallet of tiles would weight 750kgs and so a payload of 4500kgs is required. This would really overload the small hire truck and could possibly lead to a prosecution if the operator was stopped at a weigh bridge. Our responsibility is to the truck rental customer. We want the customer to select the correct truck for what they require to carry.

It is common for a truck rental enquiry to be based solely on price with little regard for anything else. We take an active interest in our trucks and the applications they are used for. The reasoning for this is quite simple. We do not want our customers to be prosecuted for operating outside of the current road transport legislation and we will not knowingly give out a vehicle which is not fit for the purpose for which it is hired for. This policy is in place to keep the truck rental customer safe and legal and also for the benefit of other road users.

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Does a Light Rental Truck Have a Tachograph?

There is no tachograph requirement on light trucks below 3500kgs. If a vehicle contains a tachograph, your car license does not entitle you to drive it.

Is there a speed limiter on “B” license Rental trucks?

It is not a current requirement to fit a speed limiter to these vehicles. That said they should not be driven in the same manner as a car. We would recommend all our truck hire customers to maintain a speed not exceeding 100 Kph.

I Need a rental truck that can carry a couple of tonnes and I only have a car license, is this possible?

Basically, you will find that running on a car license does limit your options. Typically house movers who rent a truck require volume rather than payload. This is because household moves of furniture and beds etc are not very heavy but do take up quite a bit of space.

I am a Business user who requires a large payload on a small rental truck.

Many business user rent trucks to do specific jobs that often involve heavy loads. We can provide hire trucks that have a small footprint and a large carrying capacity.

If you require any further information on any points raised here, please feel free to call the truck rental desk on 01-4592069.
By John Murphy

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