Data Sheet

#40 Driving Licences

#40 #40 Driving Licences
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4: Are You Legal?

Driving licence definition changes 19 January 2013

Entitlements are as for the driving licence gained after 1 January 1997 there is now no longer a requirement to ensure the trailer MAM does not to exceed the unladen weight of the tow car, however you are still required to ensure it's within the towing vehicle limits.

Are You Legal?

For drivers with category B licences gained after 1 January 1997

  • A car with a maximum towing capacity of 1350kg, a MAM of 2,100kg coupled with a trailer with a MAM of 1300kg complies with the licence requirements because:
  • The MAM of the combination (2,100 + 1,300) is 3,400kg and so does not exceed the maximum limit of 3,500kg and the cars towing limit is higher than the trailer MAM.
  • A similar car and trailer combination to the above but now with a lower maximum towing capacity of 1250kg could be unlawful because:
  • The trailer is above the cars maximum towing capacity of 1250kg. Selecting a different car with a higher capacity or a trailer with a lower MAM would be the easiest way to resolve this issue.
  • If the car is substituted with the estate version you may find the MAM increases to 2,190kg. The combined MAM (2,190 + 1,350) is now 3,540kg. This combination will require drivers to have a BE licence entitlement to be legal.

For more information see our towing and motorhome flow charts and information at the end of this data sheet to aid understanding of driving licence entitlements.

Upgrading your licence entitlements

Should you wish to drive a larger motorhome or tow an outfit beyond your current entitlement limitations you can upgrade them by taking an additional test or tests.

For some entitlement upgrades you are required to apply for a provisional licence in order to practice on the road and take the appropriate test. In some cases there is also a need to pass other tests for intermediated entitlements before seeking a higher category.

Upgrading for licences held before 1 January 1997

For those wishing to use outfits over the 8,250kg combined MAM limit you can apply for provisional entitlement to sub category C1 + E in order to take further tests to increase your combined vehicle and trailer entitlement to a maximum of 12,000kg (tow vehicle up to 7,500kg MAM). You have to meet higher medical standards and pass both the category C theory test and the sub category C1 + E practical test.

A large American style motorhome with MAM in excess of 7.5t requires a category C licence

A large American style motorhome with MAM in excess of 7.5t requires a category C licence

To drive a larger vehicle with MAM over 7,500kg with or without a trailer up to 750kg you need to take a category C test.

Upgrading for licences gained since 1 January 1997

A category B licence gained after 1 January 1997 comes with a provisional entitlement for BE, so you are ready to embark on a BE test. Passing this test for BE entitlement allows you to tow caravans with a category B vehicle (not exceeding 3,500kg) where the combined MAM exceeds 3,500kg.

However, you should note that this test is fairly onerous and it is generally accepted that some 

A useful booklet to guide you through the BE towing test

A useful booklet to guide you through the BE towing test

professional tuition is advantageous to increase your chances of passing. A list of BE trainers is given on the Club website. For further information about the test refer to How to Pass the Towing Test, published by Towing Solutions.

It should be noted that the BE test and other upgrade tests do require a particular specification of trailer or unit in terms of weight and or size to be used during the test. Refer to GOV.UK website for the latest requirements.