Understanding Grandfather Rights in HGV Driving

Grandfather rights, also known as acquired rights, are a significant aspect of HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) driving in the UK. These rights allow drivers who passed their car driving test before certain dates to drive larger vehicles without having to take additional tests. This article will explain what grandfather rights are, how they apply to HGV drivers, and what changes have occurred over the years.

What Are Grandfather Rights?

Grandfather rights were introduced to ensure that drivers who had already been on the roads for many years did not have to undergo new testing requirements when driving regulations changed. Essentially, if you had a driving licence before a specific date, you were automatically granted the entitlement to drive certain types of vehicles that new drivers would have to take additional tests to qualify for.

Key Dates for HGV Drivers

Pre-1997 Licences: If you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997, you were automatically given categories C1 and D1 on your licence. This means you can drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes (C1) and minibuses with up to 16 passenger seats (D1), along with a trailer up to 750kg.

Post-1997 Licences: After 1 January 1997, new drivers need to pass additional tests to gain these entitlements. Without these tests, the standard car licence only covers vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes.

Benefits of Grandfather Rights

Grandfather rights provide several advantages for drivers who hold them:

  • No Need for Additional Tests: Drivers can operate heavier vehicles and minibuses without undergoing further testing, saving time and money.
  • Broader Job Opportunities: Holding these entitlements can make drivers more versatile and attractive to employers in the haulage industry.
  • Convenience: There is no need to take further training or tests, which can be particularly beneficial for older drivers who have been driving for many years.

Changes and Implications

While grandfather rights are beneficial, it's essential to understand the implications and recent changes:

  • Medical Requirements: To retain certain entitlements, drivers over 45 must pass a medical examination every five years and annually after 65.
  • Renewal of Licences: When renewing a licence, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will check for continued entitlement to these categories.
  • EU Regulations: With the UK's departure from the EU, there may be changes in the regulations that could affect grandfather rights. It is crucial to stay informed about any new legislation that might impact these entitlements.


Grandfather rights play a crucial role in the HGV driving sector, offering long-standing drivers the ability to operate larger vehicles without additional testing. Understanding these rights and keeping up with regulatory changes ensures that drivers can continue to benefit from their entitlements. If you are an HGV operator or driver, it's important to stay informed and compliant with the latest requirements to make the most of these valuable rights.

For more detailed advice and support on HGV driving regulations and maintaining your entitlements, contact us at info@hauliershub.uk