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Last updated Monday, Jan 17, 2022 01:22 PM

Driver licensing

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​​Air brake endorsements

There are two types of air brake endorsements in B.C.:

  • On-highway. For large trucks, buses and recreational vehicles (RVs) equipped with air brakes that drive on roads and highways in B.C.

  • Off-highway (industrial). Generally used for large vehicles equipped with air brakes when transporting natural resources on logging roads.


Get an on-highway air brake endorsement

To get an on-highway air brake endorsement for a single-unit in B.C., you must:

A road test is not required.

To get an on-highway air brake endorsement for a combination-unit vehicle in B.C., you must:

  • Pass the Class 1 knowledge test, which includes air brake content
  • Complete the B.C. Class 1 MELT course, which includes all required air brake training
  • Pass an air brake pre-trip test as part of the Class 1 road test, using a combination-unit vehicle equipped with air brakes
  • Pay for your road test fees and licence

Studying and preparing for your tests

To get​​ ready for your tests, we highly recommend studying the applicable air brake chapters in Driving Commercial Vehicles.

The commercial knowledge test is multiple choice. The test is offered in English. Translators are not allowed.

Where to take your tests

Book an appointment to take your test at an ICBC driver licensing office.*

*Tests not available at Cloverdale and Surrey Guildford.

Three attempts at the single-unit air brake knowledge test

You can attempt the single-unit air brake knowledge test up to three times. If you're unsuccessful after three attempts, you'll need to complete an additional 7 hours of air brake theory training before trying again. This also applies to those with previous air brake experience who were exempted from training.

There are no limits to the number of attempts for the commercial Class 1 knowledge test, which includes air brakes. There are also no training requirements to take the knowledge test.

Retest waiting period

Study hard so you can pass the test the first time. If you don't succeed, you can take the test again after 7 days.

Combined Class 1 and air brake knowledge test starting Fall 2021​

If you haven’t passed both the Class 1 and air brake knowledge tests by October 18, 2021, you will need to complete the new combined Class 1 and air brake knowledge test.

If you were previously issued a Class 1 learner driver's licence, you’ll be required to surrender it if you are unsuccessful on the new combined knowledge test.


Get an off-highway airbrake endorsement

You'll need an off-highway airbrake endorsement if you'll be​

  • operating unlicensed vehicles that are equipped with air brakes, and
  • these vehicles are being used to transport natural resources on industrial roads.

You do not need an off-highway air brake endorsement to operate skidders, loaders, graders or yarders on industrial roads. Contact us for more details.

Requirements for an off-highway air brake endorsement

Age requirement

You must be at least

  • 18 years old for single-unit vehicles, or
  • 19 years old for combination vehicles.

Steps to apply:

  1. Become employed by a company that operates on industrial roads.
  2. Have the company confirm that it has your completed medical on file (medical forms can be obtained at a driver licensing office).
  3. After a minimum 30-day training period, the company must write a proficiency letter on your behalf.
  4. Attend a driver licensing office to have your proficiency letter reviewed.
  5. Once accepted, schedule and complete an ICBC air brake pre-trip test for the type of off-highway air brake endorsement you are applying for (e.g., single-unit vehicle or combination vehicle, equipped with air brakes).

Is a training course required?

You must complete training with your hiring company. However, you do not need to complete an on-highway air brake training course at a driver training school to obtain an off-highway air brake endorsement. To refresh your knowledge and prepare for the ICBC air brake pre-trip test, see the applicable chapters in Driving Commercial Vehicles.