Are you Legal?
" Passed your car driving test in the last 12 years? "
Changes to the licensing and testing system on 1st January 1997 saw the introduction of one completely new test, the B+E car and trailer test.
Although this test has been around for some 8 years now, a huge number of people, including some instructors are completely unaware of it. This has led to numerous incidences of people driving unlicensed, and uninsured through ignorance of the law.
The regulations regarding the towing of trailers, written by the European Committee were not designed in a way that is straightforward or easy to understand. The resulting rules are extremely confusing and are a minefield for the unwary.
Here is a summary of the rules; this SHOULD NOT be taken as a full explanation:
A B+E driving licence is required to tow a large trailer behind a motor vehicle.
A car is defined as a vehicle with no more than 8 seats, and a maximum permitted weight of 3500kg. A trailer is anything that is towed by a vehicle e.g. Horse boxes, Box van, large caravan, Car transporters etc. Trailers with a gross weight of more than 750kg need to be fitted with brakes, usually “over-run” brakes worked from the tow ball.
A driver without a B+E licence can tow a trailer, providing the gross weight of the trailer is less than the un-laden weight of the towing vehicle. The whole combination must weigh less than 3500kg in total. A post ’97 licence holder can however tow a trailer with a gross weight of around 1.5 tons, providing the towing vehicle and trailer are very carefully matched. If this matching is not done correctly, it will fail to comply with the exemption, resulting in the driver being unlicensed and uninsured. In a court of law this could carry a maximum of 9 penalty points and a £1000 fine and in some cases even a ban.