How to Prepare for the Class 1 Driving License Exam and Road Test?

Since British Columbia has a diverse landscape and brings many career opportunities. In Surrey, BC the demand for qualified truck drivers is always high as this sector is quite lucrative and attractive.

Gone are the days when the trucking industry was considered informal and underprivileged people used to be part of it. Now with the advancement in technology, the trucking sector has also grown into technical expertise backed by professionalism and sophistication.

Getting a Class 1 license in BC is a great way to make living while helping the economy move as it offers wide career options including commercial truck drivers, delivery, haulers, and many more.

So here are a few easy steps to get your Class 1 driving license.

1- Fulfill Your Eligibility Criteria

Before applying for a Class 1 license in langley BC make sure you fulfill the certain eligibility criteria:

  • You must have a minimum age of 19 and no upper age bar.
  • Able to meet vision standards and medical fitness.
  • Must Have a Class 5.
  • Having no driving-related criminal convictions within the past 3 years.
  • You haven’t any fine or debt pending of ICBC.

2- MELT Training

Mandatory entry-level training programs ensure that new commercial drivers are trained to a higher standard. This program is likely to make roads safer as it complies with the National Safety Code.

The duration of the course is 140 hours and it includes air brake training as well as 6 hours of mandatory flexible practical training. students are required to complete the course within 12 months from the date of enrolment but many students complete the course in a much shorter time frame.

  • BC Class 1 MELT training includes practical in-yard and on-highway training and theoretical learning components.
  • It focuses on fundamentals like National safety code compliance, load securement, hours of service requirement, air brakes, and professional on-highway driving skills.
  • It emphasizes safe operating practices for mountainous geography and diverse climatic conditions and highlights the other unique conditions that can occur in other jurisdictions.

The cost of the MELT program varies according to the driver training school industry allowing various choices for students.

3- Get the Air Brake Course Completed

When you get a Class 1 license you are eligible to drive tractors or trailers that are equipped with air brakes which means you are liable to complete an air brake course before the Class 1 driving license exam.

The Air Brake system is initiated by air pressure from an engine-driven compressor. Air brake endorsement courses are of two types


Two types of on-highway air brake courses

  •  Driver certificate air brake course: it includes 16 hours of a Classroom theory part and 4 hours of training on pre-trip air brake inspections.
  • Standard air brake course:  It includes the Classroom theory part only.

Off-highway air brake course

Large equipped vehicles with air brakes are used for transporting resources on logging roads. This endorsement allows you to run in industrial areas if you will be 

  • Operating unlicensed vehicles provided with air brakes
  • Trucks are used to transport various natural resources on industrial roads.

Make sure you complete your air brake endorsement course added to your driver’s license within a year, otherwise you have to again complete the course.

4- Hit the books for the knowledge test

After completing the air brake course you need to hit the books for cracking the knowledge test. Preparation for knowledge test should include the 

  • Class 1 commercial license knowledge test
  • Knowledge about air brakes.

If you write about the tests at the same time there will be only one fee counted instead if you write them separately. If you score 80% or above you have qualified for the test otherwise you need to wait for 7 days for a retake. If you don’t pass the knowledge test even after the third attempt you are required to do the whole air brake endorsement course again. There will also be an additional fee for each attempt you try.

Make sure you are familiar and able to recognize all the road signs. Try to give some online tests too for practice.

5- Apply for a Class 1 learner’s license

Locate the ICBS licensing office near you and make sure you bring the following documents with you: 

  • 2 pieces of  ID 
  • Certification of completing the Air Brake course

The other requirement to get your Class 1 learner’s license is a vision test that will be completed at the licensing office. 

 Vision assessment checks include:

  • Visual Acuity – Your capacity to read from a distant object which means your visual acuity. 
  • Peripheral Vision – Includes your capability to see objects on each side of yours.
  • Depth Perception – It checks your capacity to tell how close different objects are.
  • Diplopia – It checks whether you have any double vision. 
  • Color Perception – Checking your capability to distinguish red, green, and amber colors.

If there are any issues raised while medical screening or vision assessment, you may have to consult a doctor or optometrist before getting your learner’s license. 

If you have passed your knowledge tests, and vision screening along with the medical questionnaire doesn’t raise any red flags, you will be issued a Class 1 BC learner’s license.

6- School Training

Though there isn’t any formal requirement to do any training courses from school before applying for your full-privilege Class 1 license in BC. It’s a way that you can have some quick experience, that will help you to pass the road tests quickly and efficiently. 

Even if you already have your Class 3 license and you are looking to upgrade, you should get some on-the-road experience handling a tractor with the air brake system. If you are just starting out, a training program from a reputable school also looks quite impressive on your resume.

Many schools along with air brakes offer extensive in-Class, workplace skills, and on-the-road training while some also have short programs with just driving lessons to fulfill specific requirements.

7- Inspection Test

You are required to clear 3 tests to get your Class 1 learner driver’s license.

  • Air brake pre-trip inspection
  • Vehicle pre-trip inspection 
  • Road test

8- Air brake pre-trip inspection

If you have done the air brake endorsement course the test is built into it so you don’t have to give it separately.

But if you have completed the standard course you are required to qualify for the test.

9- Vehicle pre-trip inspection

In this test, you are required to explain to the driver examiner what you will check in each part before you start driving. You will also have to submit a written pre-inspection case, you fail this test you will have to wait for 7 days.

10- Road test

For a Class 1 road test, the truck that you are using will be a loaded tandem combination with air brakes with an on-road loaded weight of about 28,000 kg.

This test examines your overall ability to drive on road including coupling and uncoupling the tractor unit.

You will be examined at various points:

  • Starting and destination points
  • How you take turns and how you park
  • Shifting gears
  • Driving in high traffic

11- Apply for BC Class 1 driver’s license

If you have passed your road test you have to get a medical examination. The licensing officer will handle a form that you are required to get it to fill out through a doctor. In the meantime, your licensing officer will issue you a temporary Class 1 license.

There will be some fees charged by your doctor and your reports will be sent directly to Road Safety BC.

What type of Vehicles can you drive with a BC Class 1 license?

Examples of vehicles that you can drive with a BC Class1 license are:

  • Semi truck trailers
  • Various straight-body trucks like flatbed
  • Trucks carrying commercial heavy equipment like dump trucks and mixer trucks.
  • Ambulance
  • Mobile cranes 
  • Buses
  • Tow trucks

Now when you’ve got your Class 1 commercial driver’s license, you’re ready to take the wheels into your hands and enjoy. But some decisions are left to make from your side. For instance, do you want to drive as a long-haul driver (itinerant outside a 160 km radius from the base point) or a short-haul driver (itinerant inside a 160 km radius). 

The roads are wide open. It’s your turn to take the decision and step ahead in the right direction.