UPSKILLING YOUR DRIVERS: MEDIUM RIGID (MR) CLASS LICENCE
Your vehicles are being called into use more often and you need your staff to jump into the driver’s seat at a moment’s notice – but first they have to be appropriately licensed.
So, which license class?
Naturally the type of heavy vehicle licence you apply for will depend on your industry, the type of work you do, the vehicles you use and the skills and experience of the staff who are going to be doing the driving.
In this guide to getting your team licence ready, we’ll talk about some key requirements for the Medium Rigid (MR) class licence.
Same but different – jurisdictional variations
All states and territories in Australia have the same licence classes, but the licensing laws and regulations for each class vary according to where you operate. Check the rules that apply to your local authority, as well as the states you’ll be driving in.
What can you drive with a MR class licence?
Your medium rigid licence will allow you to get behind the wheel of any two-axle vehicle with a GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) of more than eight tonnes, including a truck, bus or tractor.
You can also tow a trailer, as long as it doesn’t weigh more than nine tonnes (and is within the capacity of the towing vehicle).
A holder of this type of licence will be able to drive Light Rigid (LR) class vehicles, ie over 4.5 tonnes to a maximum of eight tonnes (no restrictions on the number of axles).
Drivers must have held a car (or ‘C’ class) licence for at least a year before applying for the MR class. Some jurisdictions specify a minimum age for heavy vehicle licence application (for example 18 years of age in the ACT, 19 in Tasmania).
Some transport authorities will require drivers to sit an eye test, and expect private and commercial drivers of a heavy vehicle to meet national medical standards.
Candidates will also have to produce proof of identity and, in some cases, proof of residence (if not already satisfied by the proof of identity document).
Back to school
Each state and territory has its own licence assessment, testing guidelines and processes. However, all require some combination of the following:
- A theory-based road rules and heavy vehicle knowledge test
- A practical driving assessment
- In some jurisdictions, a skills assessment which covers pre-operational checks such as securing loads and performing safety checks
State and territory transport authorities will suggest a list of approved training providers or assessors. Generally, you’ll have to book and sit the test through these organisations. Some states, such as NSW, do offer the option of taking the test with an officer from the road authority.
You’ll find plenty of driving schools competing for your driving training budget. The advantage is that they usually have a range of suitable fleet vehicles available and understand the road authority’s requirements for passing the test. Some even include driving simulators and defensive driving techniques into their training repertoire. Handing over driving training to a school also frees you up to concentrate on running your business.
You can tick off your driver education needs in one day or over several weeks. Prices vary – a one-day course can range from AUD$600 for five hours to $1,100 for eight hours, and upward.
For the best deal, shop around the accredited training providers recommended by your transport authority.
Alternatively, you can provide your own training but the instructor will have to be suitably qualified and experienced and the vehicle must meet minimum standards for its class.
A driver who’s been trained to drive a heavier vehicle isn’t limited to operating just one vehicle in your fleet, which translates to money in your pocket and flexibility.