Heavy Vehicle Truck Driver Training NSW

Is getting a heavy vehicle truck driver licence in Australia easy?  Well, it may be easy for some but not that easy for others. To start with, all states possess requirements on how long a person must have a licence ahead of upgrading to the higher class. You can drive with a supervisor before you complete these requirements, but can’t take any assessments before you meet them. 

For an MR or Medium Rigid and LR or Light Rigid licence in Australia, you must have a driver’s licence for a year at the minimum. For the Heavy Rigid or HR licence, a MR or LR licence for a minimum of a year, or a driver’s licence for two years is required. For the Heavy Combination or HC licence, an HR or MR licence for a year at minimum is required.  

In Tasmania, however, you can proceed from having a driver’s licence to an HC licence as soon as you have held your licence for two years. For a Multi Combination or MC licence, the requirement is holding an HC or HR licence for a year. With these requirements in mind, it will take you a minimum of four years to get an MC licence from scratch. That’s almost as long as  medical school.

Things to consider when getting a heavy vehicle truck driver licence in NSW

1. School

Australia takes pride in its large number of driving schools of heavy vehicles. In fact, the Australian Driver Trainers Association has a directory of more than 500 schools. So, finding a driving school shouldn’t be an issue. 

Finding the right school, however, can be more challenging. Whatever driving school you choose, you must sure that it covers the license you want because not all schools cover all heavy vehicle classes. 

2. Truck

The year or model of the truck you are using for training is not important since you will get to drive various models through the years. When training, the truck will have built-in dual-controls for your instructor to intervene as needed as the law requires. Instead, ask about these things:

  • Does the training provide the licence course you desire?  After all, there is no sense training with a heavy rigid truck when you are planning to get a Multi Combination licence; and, 
  • What gearing does your truck have?  Be sure to know if it is a synchromesh manual, an automatic, a non-synchromesh gearing called the crash box, road ranger, or constant mesh.  

Driving a truck and an automatic car is the same when both have an automatic gearing. Driving a truck with a synchromesh gearing is similar to running a manual automobile. The road ranger gearbox is a totally different beast, though, because it is among the hardest to learn to drive. The road ranger gearing is more common in American trucks.

The majority of the new trucks have automatics or synchromesh gearboxes.  So why make an effort learning to run the road ranger gearing? The answer is quite obvious. Only a road ranger gearing can offer you a limitless licence!  

This means that if you pass your test using an automatic truck, you obtain a licence with an A limit, which allows you to run trucks with automatic transmission only. If you pass the synchromesh gearbox test, you get a licence with a B limit that restricts you to drive only synchromesh and automatic transmission trucks. 

If you succeed with the road ranger gearing, your license is unlimited and you can drive any heavy vehicle truck. And that makes you highly employable! Having no licence limits means your company does not need to lose sleep on your licence. Also, many employers do not like placing newly hired drivers in modern trucks. They would rather put new drivers in an older truck to develop their driving skills. And these older trucks are far likely to have road ranger gearing.

nsw heavy truck driver training

3. Training

In your driving classes, you will mostly drive a 75% loaded truck with your instructor sitting beside you. This remains the expensive part of your licence application.  So, you should know the actual class process.  How long will be the one-on-one training, if any? Or, will you be taking turns with one more student driver?

Most training schools provide material that contains the theories you have to know. Several schools run theoretical classes. So, ask for information and check if Hazard Awareness or Low-Risk driving is included in your lessons.

4. Registration

All institutes that provide driving training on heavy vehicles need accreditation as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Many smaller driving schools may not get accredited in their own right, but instead, operate under a bigger RTO driving institute. Be sure your chosen school has the required accreditation.  

5. Assessment

Find out if your school conducts the appraisal or if you have to locate an official evaluator for an added fee. In New South Wales, training providers no longer evaluate their own learners to steer clear of the possible clash of interest. What they do instead is organise an assessment through an impartial third-party evaluator.

6. Fees

Fees fluctuate from one school to another and increase with every licence class. Several schools impose a fixed charge while others impose an hourly charge. Most driving institutes who assess, on top of training, include the appraisal fee within their total charge, but not at all times. 

With this in mind, how about checking out… 

Chris Shilling Transport Training

This heavy vehicle truck driver training school in NSW can get you prepared and quickly accredited to get your licence. The company covers the training and accreditation of most truck driving classes, as follows:

1. HC or Heavy Combination Automatic 

Chris Shilling Transport Training offers this in Mid North Coast, NSW, Central Coast, Hunter Region, and Port Stephens. A Heavy Combination truck licence is often required in drivers who accept heavy haulage, as well as interstate work, and by companies that need to move hefty debris or products, such as hardware or landscaping supplies.  

This licence is also needed by drivers of demolition companies, as well as large transport convoy operators, like Star Track, Toll, and Linfox. Students finishing this course may obtain an HC or Heavy Combination licence, which allows them to run HC trucks having automatic or synchromesh transmission.  

With this licence, you can drive any three-axle Prime Mover, tow a two-axle trailer with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) weighing more than nine tons, or any three-axle rigid motor truck pulling a trailer having two axles, with a GVM of more than nine tons. And all that is needed is the completion of a one-day course at a cost of $1,650.  

Holders of the unrestricted licence will not miss this endorsement once advancing in the automatic.  Drivers will keep their qualification to run vehicles using a manual gearing, such as the Crashbox, Road Ranger, or Constant Mesh. The requirements for the HC licence application are, as follows:

  • Have had an HR or MR class licence, or its equivalent, for at least one year; 
  • Pass the HC Truck Driving theoretical test; 
  • Meet the eyesight criteria; 
  • Pass the theoretical test at Roads and Maritime Services or RMS in New South Wales; and,
  • Obtain a learner’s record book
heavy truck driver school nsw

2. HC or Heavy Combination Road Ranger 

HC training, and the assessment, can be completed in around 17 hours. This is recommended for drivers who want to run a linked truck with at least three axles into a vehicle with a non-automatic gearbox, such as a road ranger or constant mesh. An example is a prime mover having a single semi-trailer, or an HR vehicle pulling a GVM of more than nine tons. 

This training costs $120/ hour, but requires no more than 17 hours if conducted using the vehicle of the training company. Any added hours are subjected to a reduced amount of $80/hour. Chris Shilling Transport Training offers HC or Heavy Combination Road Ranger education and appraisal in Central Coast, Newcastle, Hunter Valley, and Mid North Coast.  Requirements for the HC licence application are, as follows:  

  • Have had an HR or MR class licence, if not its equivalent, for at least one year; 
  • Pass the Heavy Combination Truck Driving knowledge test;
  • Meet the eyesight criteria;  
  • Pass the examination at Roads and Maritime Services in New South Wales; and,
  • Obtain a student logbook.

3. MC or Multi Combination Automatic 

Available in Central Coast, Newcastle, and the Mid North Coast, this one day course exists for those who wish to advance to the Multi Combination licence. A Multi Combination licence allows drivers to operate Multi Combination trucks having a synchromesh or automatic transmission.

If you now have an unlimited licence, you get to keep this endorsement even when you upgrade to the automatic. This means you will hold on to your licence to drive MC or HC vehicles with manual gearings, such as the Constant Mesh, Crashbox, or Road Ranger. The training cost is $1,750.  The MC licence requirements are, as follows:

  1. Have had an HC or HR class licence, if not its equivalent for one year or more; 
  2. Pass the MC Truck Driving knowledge examinations; 
  3. Meet the eyesight criteria; 
  4. If holding the Heavy Rigid licence, pass the HC assessment in advance of starting the MC training; 
  5. Pass the medical examination; 
  6. Pass the theoretical test at Roads and Maritime Services or RMS in New South Wales; and,
  7. Obtain a student logbook. 

4. HR or Heavy Rigid Truck Training Road Ranger or Automatic

Heavy Rigid training and appraisal generally takes around 17 hours and is meant for drivers wishing to run a rigid lorry with at least three axles. The training cost is $110/hour for the first 17 hours if conducted in the vehicle of the training company. Any additional hour is charged at the reduced amount of $80/hour.

Alternatively, you may complete your HR licence training using an automatic in just one day. You are able to run a synchromesh vehicle after upgrading your licence. This training and appraisal are offered by CSTT in Central Coast, Newcastle, Hunter Valley, and Mid North Coast. The requirements for the HR licence application are, as follows:

  1. Have had a Class C licence, but not including a student licence, or its equivalent for at least two years;
  2. Pass the Heavy Rigid Truck Driving knowledge test; 
  3. Meet the eyesight criteria; 
  4. Pass the examination at Roads and Maritime Services or RMS in New South Wales; and,
  5. Obtain a student logbook.

5. MR or Medium Rigid Truck Training and Assessment 

Available in Central Coast, Newcastle, and Mid North Coast, this training and appraisal generally takes around 10 hours to accomplish.  It is meant for drivers wishing to run a rigid lorry with two axles and a GVM beyond eight tons.  

The training cost is $100/hour for the first 10 hours if conducted in the vehicle of the training company. Any additional hour is charged a reduced amount of $80/hour. The MR licence requirements are, as follows:

  1. Have had a Class C licence, but not including a student licence, or its equivalent for at least one year;
  2. Pass Medium Rigid Truck Driving knowledge test; 
  3. Meet the eyesight criteria; 
  4. Pass the examination at Roads and Maritime Services or RMS in New South Wales; and,
  5. Obtain a student logbook.

For any inquiry, check out their website at https://www.cstt.com.au/. With Chris Shilling Transport Training, getting your license upgraded is simple!