What is the Difference Between a Class 1 and Class 3 vehicle?

Author: Donovan's Driver Education |

What is a Class 1 vehicle?

A Class 1 license is required to drive a tractor or truck pulling an air brake equipped trailer. Regardless of how many drive axles on the vehicle, if the trailer is air brake equipped, you must have a Class 1 license.

What is a Class 3 vehicle?

A Class 3 vehicle is a single motor vehicle with 3 or more axles; a motor vehicle with 3 or more axles that is towing a trailer with one or more axles (if the trailer is not equipped with airbrakes); a Class 2 or 4 type vehicle without passengers (bus, taxi, ambulance); a Class 1, 2 or 6 vehicle as a learner

An easy way to tell is if the vehicle has 3 wheels, it’s a Class 3. This would be a vehicle with 1 steering axle and 2 drive axles. As long as the trailer is NOT air equipped, it can be hauled with a Class 3.

However, the vehicle itself usually has air brakes, so a Q endorsement is required to drive these vehicles.

In Alberta, you can’t get your Class 3 license until you have held a Class 7 for one year, then your Class 5 GDL (Graduated driver’s license) for 2 years. Once the exam is completed and the GDL is removed from the license, you can upgrade your license to any other class of license.

What can I drive with a Class 5 license?

You will only require a Class 5 license if you are driving a two axle vehicle pulling a trailer with no air brakes. However, some provinces has restrictions on trailer weight for the truck pulling it, since the weight can be difficult to stop with electric brakes.

So in short, 2 axle vehicle (with or without trailer, not air brake equipped) Class 5; 3 wheels (2 drive axles) vehicle (with or without trailer, not air brake equipped) Class 3; Vehicle with air brake equipped trailer Class 1.



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