How to Start Driving Trucks for a Living

Working as a truck driver in Australia can be a rewarding career. The average income for a truck driver runs anywhere from $20 to $32 per hour. If you’re are interested in this career, here is how you can get started.

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Types of Truck Driving Licences

Australia has several different types of licences for driving trucks. Although each state has its own requirements for obtaining licences, the licence types are generally the same across the country. The five most common heavy vehicle licences are:

  • LR or Light Rigid: This allows licence holders to drive passenger vehicles that carry up to 12 people including the driver and that weigh no more than eight tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM). They can also drive vehicles towing trailers weighing not more than nine tonnes GVM.
  • MR or Medium Rigid: This licence allows holders to drive two-axle passenger buses or vehicles towing trailers weighing not more than nine tonnes GVM.
  • HR or Heavy Rigid: A holder of this licence can drive vehicles with three or more axles including Bendy-Buses, chartered buses, and vehicles towing trailers weighing not more than nine tonnes GVM.
  • HC or Heavy Combination: A driver with an HC licence can drive vehicles with three or more axles and tow trailers weighing over nine tonnes GVM. This includes articulated vehicles and trailer combinations with unladen dollies.
  • MC or Multi Combination: A holder of this licence can drive double trailers or road trains that may contain hazardous materials.

Starting as a Truck Driver

Most people who want to drive trucks for a living will start out by getting their LR licences, which requires having a Provisional P2 or C licence. A Provisional P1 licence holder is not eligible to take tests for LR or any other licences allowing him or her to drive heavy vehicles. If a P2 licence holder passes the exams to obtain a LR, MR, or HR licence, he or she will remain a provisional driver until he or she has had his or her P2 licence for two years.

To obtain the next level licence, such as going from LR to MR to HR and on up, you must take a driver’s knowledge test, be familiar with operating a manual transmission, and have your lower licence for a certain amount of time. For instance, if you want to upgrade your C or LR license to MR, you must have had your lower licence for at least 12 months. To learn more about obtaining one of these licences, check this site out.

Taking Driving Courses

Another way to upgrade your licence is to attend a truck driving school. They have short courses that will give you the knowledge you need to pass the written exams and you will learn how to drive the vehicles you will be qualified for when you pass the test.

Most schools allow you to pick the duration of your course, which may be one or two days depending on the licence for which you’re studying. The rate you’ll be paid as a driver depends on the licence you’re holding and your experience.