Can you legally tow?

January 05, 2016

Can you legally tow?

In January 2013 a new driving licence rule came into force for drivers (categories B and B+E) who want to tow a caravan or trailer. This rule applies if you pass your car test on or after this date. If you have passed your test before this date your entitlement will not be affected. If you want to check what towing restrictions are, please use the link below.

If you pass your test to drive cars/ small vehicles up to 3,500kg (category B) from 19 January 2013, you will be able to tow light trailers weighing no more than 750kg or trailers/caravans weighing more than 750kg, where the combined weight of the towing vehicle (the car/ small vehicle) and the trailer is not more than 3,500kg.

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To tow a trailer or caravan that weighs more than 750kg, where the combined weight of the towing vehicle and the trailer/caravan is more than 3,500kg, you will have to pass a further test to obtain category B+E (small vehicles and trailer) entitlement. After passing the B+E test, the trailer/caravan you tow must not be heavier than 3,500kg and the combined weight must not be more than 7,000kg.

(To tow a trailer that weighs more than 3,500kg with a car/ small vehicle (category B), you will need to pass an additional test for category C1E (medium-sized goods vehicles with trailers).

Car licences held before 1 January 1997

Drivers who passed a car test before 1 January 1997 (within the UK) may retain their earlier existing entitlement to tow trailers, unless their licence has been restricted. This means they are generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination that falls within B+E entitlement and up to 8,250kgs MAM for holders of C1+E. They also have entitlement to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kgs MAM.

Drivers who hold subcategory C1+E – limited to 8,250kgs MAM – may apply for provisional entitlement to the new subcategory C1+E in order to take and pass the test which will increase their combined vehicle and trailer entitlement to 12 tonnes MAM.

It is not necessary to gain subcategory C1 entitlement first, but drivers have to meet higher medical standards and pass both the category C theory test and the subcategory C1+E practical test.

Large goods vehicle and passenger carrying vehicle licences, trailer entitlement after 1 January 1997

Since 1 January 1997 all drivers who hold category C or D entitlement have been limited to trailers up to 750kgs MAM. Category C+E or D+E must be held in order to tow trailers in excess of this. Drivers are no longer able to sit a test in a heavy vehicle/trailer combination (for example: category C+E or D+E) unless they have first passed a test and obtained a full licence in the corresponding rigid vehicle (for example: category C or D).

This means that although drivers may have been driving a vehicle and trailer combination legitimately, under ‘L’ plates, they are not permitted to sit a trailer test using such a combination until a test has been passed in a rigid vehicle and a full licence obtained for that category.





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