Truck Info

Below is a list of licence classes for heavy vehicles in Australia. Don't forget what ever licence class you hold you can also drive anything smaller than that.

Heavy Vehicle Classes.

LR - Light Rigid vehicle is any vehicle between 4.5 and under 8.01 Tonne GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass)

MR - Medium Rigid vehicle is any vehicle between with 2 axles over 8 Tonne GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass)

HR - Heavy Rigid vehicle is any single bodied vehicle with 3 or more axles.

HC - Heavy Combination vehicle consists of a prime mover and a trailer over 9 tonne GVM (commonly known as a Semi trailer)

MC - Multi-combination Vehicle is a heavy vehicle that consists of a prime mover and 2 or more trailers over 9 tonne GVM. Common descriptions are 'b-double' and 'road train'.

Booking a Heavy Vehicle Course With Us

Below are the steps for booking a heavy vehicle (and car - Cairns Car School) course with us.

P.O. (Purchase Order) Method

  1. Use the easy quote form or contact us for a quote
  2. Send us the approved purchase order with the participant's name, phone number & email
  3. We call the participant to ask necessary questions, get extra info needed such as licence number.
  4. We book them on the course and send course info.

Heavy Vehicle Eligibilty Form.

Want to know what heavy vehicle licence you are eligible for? Use the form below to check. If still in doubt call us on 07 4242 1135.


There are 3 types of gearboxes used in heavy vehicle.

  • Automatic
  • Synchromesh (Manual)
  • Non-synchromesh (Crashbox)
Auto Gearbox

Same as a car, this gearbox does not require the use of a clutch. There are different types of automatic gearbox. Every auto bus/truck will have a manual mode which is great for controlling your speed up and down hills.

Synchromesh Gearbox (Manual) - Also known as a 'Restricted Licence'

Otherwise known as a manual gearbox. This gearbox has a clutch that you press all the way to the floor before you change your gears. If you have a heavy vehicle licence with this gearbox, you will have the letter 'B' next to 'conditons' on your licence and you are NOT allowed to drive a non-synchromesh gearbox. You will find this gearbox in vehicles from small buggies all the way through to HR class trucks.

Non-syncromesh Gearbox (Crashbox) - Also known as a 'Unrestricted Licence'

This gearbox is the hardest and most dangerous gearbox to drive. Mainly used for hauling very heavy loads as your traditional synchromesh or auto gearbox can not handle the extreme forces that are transferred through the drive train.

Learning this gearbox is like learning to ride a bike for the first time and typically takes anywhere from 5-10 lessons before the average person is ready to sit their test. The average is 7-8 lessons.

Today these gearboxes are mainly used in heavy vehicles from classes HR, HC and MC. These gearboxes are slowly being phased out as companies are now mostly buying the auto gear changing versions of these gearboxes. In North Queensland is it still an advantage to have this type of gearbox when looking for work.


Do I need a QLD licence to book for a heavy vehicle licence in QLD?

Yes. You also need to have met the tenure (time) requirements to book a test. If you are transferring your licence from interstate, make sure you ask the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to bring over your history from the other state. This will let the booking system know that you have had your licence for longer.

What is involved in getting a heavy vehicle licence?

You will need :

  • A heavy vehicle with the class and gearbox that you want to upgrade to
  • Book a test at TMR - approx $65
  • Practice for test with a supervising driver who has had the class of licence for more than 12 months
  • If upgrading from a car licence you will need to sit the written test.

Everything but the written test is organised by us when you book with Cairns Truck School

Do you have to do the written test before you can drive a heavy vehicle?

No. The written test is NOT a learner licence. It can be done before OR after your practical driving test.

You are eligible to practice driving a truck:

  • Once you have completed your tenure
  • Have L plates on the vehicle
  • Have a supervising driver in the vehicle with you that has had that class of licence for more than 12 months

Do I need to get a Medical Certificate to upgrade to a heavy vehicle licence.

Maybe. You will if you have:

  • Diabetes (controlled by pills or injection)
  • Black outs, fits or seizures or epilepsy
  • a licence with an 'M' condition on it

You will also need a medical certificate if you are applying for a DA (Driver's Authority) to drive with passengers.

You do not need a medical to upgrade your licence if you are fit and healthy and are not carrying passengers.

Does TMR supply the vehicle?


I have heard that if I have manual car licence, I can drive an auto truck and will still get a manual truck licence. Is this true?

Yes. You only have to prove that you can operate a gearbox once. You have proven to the Department of Transport that you can operate a synchromesh (manual) gearbox. You do not need to prove that again. That is why we recommend getting your non-synchromesh gearbox (crashbox) when you upgrade to HR if you intend to drive HC or MC class vehicles or dump trucks/sidetippers. You then can do HC or MC in an auto.

How long does my written test last for if I don't complete my practical driving test?

5 years. If you have done your written test you have 5 years to pass the practical driving test. If it has been longer than 5 years you will need to sit the test again. The same applies if you have passed the practical driving test you have 5 years to pass the writen test. Your licence does NOT get upgraded until both tests are passed.

Address: 8 Spoto Street, Woree QLD 486
Phone: 0407 471 817
ABN: 93 151 817 284
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