Towing with a car – the law

Oct 9, 2021

Towing – Change in law Autumn 2021

The law around towing with a car, van or pickup is changing.

The government has announced that to help tackle the shortage of HGV drivers they will abolish the car and trailer test this autumn, freeing up more tests for lorry drivers.

This means that you will no longer need to take an additional test to tow a trailer.

Although there is no date for the law to change yet, they have announced that they will not conduct any more car and trailer (B+E) tests from 20th September.

It is important to note that you WILL NOT be allowed to tow from 20th September, that is the date when testing will stop. The change to licensing legislation needs to go through parliament, and that could take months.

We are extremely concerned by this change in legislation. Having provided car and trailer training for 11 years we have seen countless people commit dangerous errors on training, only for their trainer to step in to prevent damage to the vehicle, trailer or injury to the person taking the test.

This happens every week.

The thought of people towing caravans, trailers and horseboxes with no training whatsoever on the same roads as my family is terrifying.

However, the government’s decision has been made, and sadly accidents will increase as a result.

We are committed to looking after our customers and ensuring that you (and other road users) are safe, therefore we are still able to provide you with all the training that you will need to ensure that you can tow your trailer safely.

And the good news for you is: There is now no test to pass or fail!

You’ll still get the best training available so that you can be sure you are towing safely. Then when the new law kicks in you can tow your valuable cargo safe in the knowledge that you have been responsible and that you and other road users will be safe.

The law up to Autumn 2021, this still applies until the law actually changes:

If you passed a car test on or after 1 January 1997 you can only drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) (or gross weight) towing a trailer up to 750kgs MAM, OR a vehicle and trailer combination of up to 3.5 tonnes MAM. You would need to pass an additional driving test in B+E if you wish to tow a caravan or trailer combination which exceeds these weight limits.

If you wish to tow a large trailer, for example a caravan or horse box, you will need categories B+E if the MAM of the combination exceeds 3.5 tonnes. As a rule of thumb something like a 2.0 litre diesel Ford Focus would normally be able to tow a small caravan without the driver having B+E. A combination larger than this is likely to require the B+E entitlement to drive legally. This example is a guide only and you should check the MAM of the car and trailer to ensure you are legal.

You can see if you already have the entitlement to tow a trailer that meets these requirements by checking the back of your photocard licence. If it has B + E then you can tow a combination over 3.5 tonnes MAM. If you only have B, you will need to take an additional test to tow a combined MAM with a braked trailer of more than 3.5 tonnes.

If you are in any doubt, check in the manufacturer’s handbook of your vehicle, and check the plate on the trailer for the MAM.

Confused?? Don’t worry – you are not the first! We are happy to help, just contact us for free helpful advice.

We will update this page when the new changes come in.

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