Every type of vehicle comes with its own set of complexities to consider. Even if you consider yourself to be a fantastic driver when you’re in your car, you can’t simply step into an HGV and expect to know how everything works. That’s why professional HGV drivers have to undergo extensive training and accreditation to make sure they’re ready for the role.
But it’s not just the size of the automotive, or the components you use to operate it that makes a difference to the skills you’ll need. Sometimes, the goods you’re transporting can influence the kind of certifications and qualifications you need to earn.
When you’re operating a specific kind of vehicle, such as one with a crane attached, or one responsible for moving dangerous substances, like fuel or toxic materials, you’re required to have a specific type of certification. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at one of the additional forms of accreditation HGV drivers can apply for: the ADR licence.
Understanding the ADR Licence: What is It?
To ensure everyone on the road is as safe as possible, government bodies and regulatory authorities create rules for every citizen to follow. These rules dictate the kind of training you need to operate certain pieces of machinery, from a car to an HGV.
The ADR licence is a certification you get to show you can follow the rules set by the “Accord European relative au transport international des merchandises Dangereuses par Route”. This is a European regulation, which outlines the safety precautions which must be taken whenever an individual transports dangerous substance by road.
ADR licences are intended specifically for HGV drivers and people who operate larger vehicles. After all, most standard car owners don’t drive around with explosives in their trunk. However, the ADR regulations apply to the transportation of virtually any kind of dangerous product, with a few exemptions. Everything from “miscellaneous” substances which may be deemed hazardous, to fuel, toxic chemicals and flammable materials are governed by these guidelines.
Who Needs an ADR Licence?
As mentioned above, ADR licences are generally intended for existing HGV drivers who want to be able to transport different types of products throughout the UK and EU. Applying for this form of accreditation will require you to get your CPC certificate, and complete your HGV training first, to ensure you can operate larger vehicles.
However, not every HGV driver will necessarily need an ADR licence. Some professionals, such as those responsible for transporting simple materials, foods, and equipment around the UK, can usually operate without an ADR certification. This licence is specifically required for people who will be transporting goods marked as “dangerous” by the regulatory authorities.
What many new HGV drivers don’t realise when they start applying for roles, is that many driving jobs involving HGVs can also include dangerous materials. For instance, it’s not just explosives or radioactive materials that are governed by ADR. If you’re going to be transporting medical waste (toxic material), flammable goods like fuel, or certain types of tools, you’ll also need this licence.
The ADR regulations also have exemptions in place for people who are transporting small volumes of a “dangerous” product. However, most companies who choose to hire professionals to transport any kind of risky material will require them to have an ADR licence.
What Does it Take to Get an ADR Licence?
As mentioned above, an ADR licence is a kind of secondary certification a professional will often apply for after completing their CPC and HGV training. You’ll need to be an approved HGV driver, and have your CPC qualifications before you can apply to start ADR training. However, there aren’t specific rules in place right now for how much experience HGV drivers need before they can apply.
To get an ADR licence, you’ll need to complete an approved training course. Unlike with your HGV driving test, there won’t be a practical exam, though you will be taught hands-on techniques for dealing with potential risks. The training course often consists of 9 classes, each of which has a focus on a specific kind of dangerous material, such as gas, or flammable liquids.
During the course of the training, you’ll learn how to prevent potential incidents on the road when you’re transporting dangerous goods, how to prepare items for travel, and how to recognise potential threats. You’ll also learn about the crucial documentation you need to keep with you at all times, such as a list of emergency instructions, and documents outlining the nature of the goods you transport.
After taking the classes, you’ll complete an assessment consisting of various multiple-choice questions to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. If you pass the test, you’ll receive an ADR card which you will need to keep with you whenever you transport dangerous goods. You’ll also need to update this certification once every five years.
Why ADR Licences Important?
ADR licences are important because they help to keep drivers, roads, and the public safe. Learning how to drive and operate a heavy vehicle safely is crucial for any HGV driver. However, your standard HGV training won’t provide you with insights into how to reduce the risks associated with transporting dangerous goods.
An ADR licence, and the training involved ensures you have the skills you need to keep yourself safe on the roads, protect your cargo, and prevent damage to the public, or environment. It will ensure you can transport goods throughout the UK safely, and cross borders into other EU territories.
While an ADR licence might not be necessary for every HGV driver, it can be a valuable certification to acquire if you want to expand your career, and look for new employment opportunities. You’ll be able to apply for roles with a wider range of employers, and potentially earn a higher salary, transporting goods throughout the UK, and into other countries.
If you’re planning on pursuing a role as an ADR driver, or you just want to make sure you can apply for as many driving roles as possible, you’ll need to start by getting your HGV and CPC licences. Reach out to the HGV Training company today to start exploring your options.