How do I get my Heavy Rigid (HR) truck licence? This is one of the first question’s that is asked once a customer has decided they need to upgrade their car licence to a Heavy Vehicle, Bus or Truck Licence.
As most customers don’t have access to a truck or bus to complete there practical driving test in, the first point of call is to a driving school that specializes in heavy vehicle driver training.
Even if you do have access to a truck that you require a Heavy Rigid Licence to drive, it might not be accepted for the practical driving test for a number of reasons. One of the most common is that you can drive a prime mover with no trailer otherwise know as a Bob Tail Prime Mover if you hold a heavy rigid licence however this vehicle is not acceptable for the practical driving test with Transport and Main Roads. The vehicle also needs to have a GVM of greater than 15 tonne and a minimum of three axles.
It is a requirement of Transport and Main Roads that to complete the practical driving test for a Heavy Rigid Truck or Bus you must have held you drivers licence for a period of two years. This includes the period for which you have held your P’s. So in simple terms if you have had your P’s for two years you are eligible for a Heavy Rigid (HR) licence. If you are coming from a car licence you will also have to complete, a knowledge test with Transport and Main Roads on a day prior to your practical driving test.
Once you have decided to get a Heavy Rigid Licence the next question is which gearbox do I want to learn with? There are three options being the Automatic (Condition A), Synchromesh (Conditions B) which is like a manual cars gearbox and Non Synchromesh which is otherwise know as a crash box or Road Ranger Gearbox.
This is where it gets a bit complicated. It depends on whether you have a manual or automatic car licence? While most people are familiar with Automatic and synchromesh (Standard Manual) gearboxes they would not have seen and the constant mesh/crash/road ranger/unrestricted gearbox. To change gears with the unrestricted gearbox requires you to double the clutch as well as matching the engine speed to the road speed of the truck. When changing down gears you will also have to blip the throttle to get the engine speed to match the road speed. To determine which gearbox option suites you best talk this through with staff at the driving school.
Often customers are looking for a bus licence and are concerned the training they are doing is in a truck. The licence you are obtaining is a Heavy Vehicle licence not a truck or bus licence so it does not matter if you do your licence test in a truck or bus. However if you want to be employed as a bus driver carrying paying passengers you will have to obtain a, drivers authorization from Transport and Main Roads. This involves a medical, Police check and completing the appropriate paper work with Transport and Main Roads.
The amount of training you will require depends which gearbox option you choose and your own ability. Three to four hours of training is required for the Automatic or Synchromesh licence with 8 to 10 hours for your unrestricted licence. The school will then arrange the practical driving test with Transport and Main Roads. This will be combined with a 1 hour lesson before the driving test. While the final assessment will be conducted in the same truck you were training in, it is the Transport and Main Roads driving examiner who will assess your drive.
While this might all seem more complicated than when you got your car licence one of the best thing to do is to do some research into the type of vehicle you think you will be driving and then talk to the staff at Burleigh Driver Training School who can guide you though the whole process.