Is a left-hand drive truck legal in the UK?
The number of left-hand drive trucks on British roads is increasing – they’re perfectly legal, and form an essential part of the UK’s trade. However, drivers of left-hand drive trucks need to know the rules in order to make sure they are driving HGVs legally and safely in Britain.
Who can drive a left-hand drive LGV in Britain?
Any driver who holds a British HGV licence can drive a left-hand or right-hand drive truck in the UK. At present, drivers who hold a valid HGV licence from any EU country can also drive trucks legally in Britain. Drivers from non-EU countries are not allowed to drive HGVs on British roads.
If you are a driver from an EU country and you come to live permanently in the UK, you will have to inform the DVLA of this within 12 months to be allowed to continue driving. EU driving licences are not valid indefinitely in the UK – current regulations are as follows:
- If you are aged under 45, your European HGV licence will be valid for five years after becoming resident in the UK, or until your 45th birthday, whichever comes first. After this time your EU licence must be exchanged for a GB one.
- If you are aged between 45 and 65, your EU licence will be valid for five years after becoming a UK resident or until your 66th birthday, whichever comes first.
- If you are aged 65 or over, your EU HGV licence will be valid for one year.
All drivers, both British and European, must be aged at least 21 to drive a HGV in the UK.
Time limits for drivers of HGVs
In the UK, you are not allowed to drive for more than 10 hours in any 24-hour period. Written records of your hours must be kept if you are driving for more than four hours a day – alternatively you can use an EU-approved, sealed tachograph to record your driving hours.
Regular rest breaks must also be taken – 45 minutes’ rest are required after every 4.5 hours of driving.
The same rules apply to both left-hand and right-hand drive HGVs.
Speed limits for HGVs in the UK
The same speed limits apply to left-hand drive and right-hand drive trucks in the UK. European drivers should remember that UK speed limits are in miles per hour rather than kilometres. Current speed limits are as follows:
- Motorways: 60 mph
- Dual Carriageways: 60 mph (England and Wales), 50 mph (Scotland)
- Single Carriageways: 50 mph (England and Wales), 40 mph (Scotland)
- Built-up areas: 30 mph
It is illegal for HGVs to exceed these speeds on British roads.
It is a legal requirement that all HGVs, both left-hand and right-hand drive, are kept in good working order to drive on UK roads. Information on the required safety standards and checks can be found on the government website.