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B+E Trailer Towing Training / Lessons

For full regulations regarding use of vehicles on the road please refer to the relevant legislation for details.

This information is not intended as a definitive statement of the law.
Independent legal advice should be obtained if necessary.

Driving licence: UK / GB groups and EU categories information

HGV / LGV / STGO information

More agricultural vehicle information

Do you tow a trailer or caravan,

or drive a large vehicle?

 

Information about larger vehicles.

A trailer is anything towed by a vehicle. So caravans, cattle / horse boxes, car transporters etc. are all trailers.

So is a broken down car towed by another vehicle, and the driver of the towing car usually needs to hold a B+E licence.

If you tow a larger broken down vehicle the driver of the towing vehicle usually needs to hold a licence to drive the vehicle being towed.

To accompany or instruct a learner driver you must be over 21 years old and hold the full licence for the category of vehicle and have held that license for more than 3 years.

DSA News regarding Cat D1 D1E C1 C1E

Maximum size of trailers for towing with vehicle under 3500kg GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight)
Length (excluding the coupling and drawbar) = 7.0 metres
Maximum width = 2.3 metres

Car licences obtained before 1 January 1997


If you passed your car test before 1 January 1997 you will also have categories BE (B+E), C1 and D1. These additional category entitlements are referred to as 'Grandfather Rights' and allow you to drive these vehicles without the need to take any additional tests. However, be warned! These are not full vocational licenses and have restrictions: C1 for weight (7500 kg) and D1 'Not for hire or reward'. As such, although you may drive them, you cannot accompany or instruct a learner driver for category D1 unless you are over 21 and hold the full licence (as a result of passing the appropriate test) and have held that license for more than 3 years.

DSA News regarding Cat D1 D1E C1 C1E

 

Car licences obtained on or after 1 January 1997

Category B Licence (for tests passed on or after 1st January 1997):You can drive motor vehicles with a MAM (Maximum Aurthorised Mass = Uladen weight + weight of the load it is allowed to carry) not exceeding 3500kg having not more than 8 passenger seats with a trailer up to 750kg. Combinations of towing vehicles in category B and a trailer, where the MAM of the combination does not exceed 3500kg and the MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen mass of the towing vehicle.

Drivers who passed a car test on or after 1 January 1997 are required to pass an additional driving test in order to gain entitlement to category B+E which allows them to tow trailers with a maximum authorised mass in excess of 750KG, behind a car/van (up to 3500kg).


Most caravans when fully loaded will be over 750 kg. This limit can be exceeded without taking a B+E test under some circumstances: The gross laden weight / MAM of a trailer can be upto the unladen weight of the towing vehicle, up to a maximum of 3500 kg in total for the combination. e.g. Land Rover Defender 90 has an unladen weight of 1740kg and therefore you might think you would be able to tow a trailer with a MAM of 1740kg, but beware that the load capacity of the Land Rover, over 20kg, would put you over the 3500kg MAM for the combination! So as the MAM of the Land Rover is 2400kg you can only tow a trailer with a MAM of 1100kg (If your trailer has a MAM above 1100kg but only weighs 1100kg because it is not fully loaded it would still require a B+E licence). If you had a Land Rover Freelander weighing 1640kg unladen, with a 2060kg MAM then your trailer could have up to a 1440kg MAM and would not exceed the 3500kg MAM for the combination and therefore only a category B licience is required (If your trailer has a MAM above 1440kg but only weighs 1440kg because it is not fully loaded it would still require a B+E licence). e.g. If you have a trailer with a 1400kg MAM you could tow it with a Land Rover Freelander (1640kg unladen / 2060kg MAM) without B+E, but the same trailer would need B+E to be towed by a Seat Ibiza, and the actual load towed would be less as the Seat Ibiza towing capacity is only 1200kg. If your trailer is below 750 kg MAM it can be towed by a vehicle up to 3500 kg making a total train weight of 4250 kg.* The best way to check is take whatever you are towing with to your local public weighbridge and get its unladen weight. When you know the unladen weight and MAM of the towing vehicle & the MAM of the trailer/caravan and the combination, you can work out if a B+E licience is required. You can find the MAM from the manufacturers handbook / plate. Also check the manufacturers plate to be sure none of the axle/nose weights or MAM for any trailer are exceeded.

All trailers over 750kg MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) should display a manufacturers plate with the MAM of the trailer - Remember this is the weight that counts, for driving licence regulations, regardless of the actual weight being less.

If your trailer has not got a manufacturers plate showing the MAM you should not exceed 750kg in total (trailer + load).

 

If you passed your car test after 1 January 1997, you are restricted to category B (car up to 3500kgs) only. If you want to drive vehicles in C1 (small lorries between 3.5 tonne and 7.5 tonne) or D1 (minibuses with between 9 and 16 passenger seats), you will have to take the additional test. If you pass category C, you are covered for C1 and, similarly, if you pass category D, you are covered for D1. You will also have to take the relevant theory (including hazard perception) test and have a medical.

If you pass a test for sub-category "+E" that will give you entitlement to lighter categories you hold full entitlement to +E. So C+E gives entitlement to C1+E, B+E and if you have passed category D, D+E & D1+E. Beware that if you pass a B+E test and later passed C (or C1) you would have to take the additional C+E (C1+E) test to gain entitlement to tow a trailer, with the higher category. Also remember that passing a test for a rigid vehicle does not give entitlement to a lighter category with a trailer even though the maximum weight is less.

 

Email for more information

B+E Trailer Towing Training / Lessons

seatibiza+iwt

Seat Ibiza with trailer (Cat. B+E)

[Cat B+E provisional entitlement is granted when cat B (Car) test is passed.]

Click below for information about

B+E Trailer Towing Training / Lessons

If you hold B+E entitlement there is no trailer weight limit under driving licence regulations BUT

BEWARE you must not exceed your vehicle's towing capacity.

You may tow a trailer with a MAM greater than the towing capacity as long as the actual weight is not.

Do not confuse driver licence regulations with C&U (construction & use) regulations.

Most tractors used in agriculture can be driven on the public highway by anyone who has passed a car driving test,

as category f is granted when a category B (car) test is passed.*

Agricultural Tractor & Trailer (Cat.F){Cat.F does not have a +E sub category}

[ Cat.F is granted when a Cat.B test is passed ]

Cat. F does not cover other tractors, such as council tractors, golf course tractors, etc.§

C&U: Maximum weight = 24 390 kg, So a loaded trailer with a 12000kg capacity,

unladen weight of 5900 kg towed by a tractor weighing 6500 kg

would be overweight for the public highway.*

Tractor & one trailer maximum length = 18.75 metres

Tractor & trailer maximum width = 2.55 metres

(This may be exceeded providing conditions are complied with*)

More information

 

Rough terrian telescopic materials handler / fork-lift truck

[Special vehicles, Agricultural engines (e.g. combine harvester),

Digging machines, Mobile cranes, Works trucks are not covered

by Cat.F for the public highway: Cat.B (Car) is required. §*]

 

Crawler tractor - track-laying vehicle steered by its tracks (Cat.H)

{Cat.H does not have a +E sub category}

Cat.H provisional entitlement is granted when Cat.B (Car) is passed.

If a trailer / trailed implement is towed full Cat.H entitlement is required

on the public highway.

Motorbike (Cat.A)

LGV (Cat.C+E) (Old HGV Class 1)

[Maximum weight = 44 000 kg, can be exceeded subject to STGO Special Type General Order]

[Cat.C must be held to obtain Cat C+E provisional entitlement]

[Cat.B (Car) must be held to obtain Cat C provisional entitlement]

HGV / LGV / STGO information

Full photocard licences show full entitlement on the pink plastic card and

provisional entitlement on the paper counterpart.

(Provisional photocard licences have a green plastic card).

Driving licence information

§ Holders of a full category B (car) driving licence may drive some large vehicles:


You can get more information from leaflet ‘Special licensing arrangements for drivers of larger vehicles’ (INF52) which you can download from

www.direct.gov.uk/motoringleaflets


Vehicles a person can drive without lorry or bus entitlement include:
• steam powered vehicles;
• lorries built before 1 January 1960 and used unloaded and not pulling a loaded trailer;
• road construction machines, industrial tractors, agricultural motor vehicles, engineering equipment, works trucks and digging machines;
• vehicles with an unloaded weight of up to 3.05 tonnes and fitted with equipment for raising a disabled vehicle;
• buses more than 30 years old carrying no more than eight passengers and not to make a profit;
• play buses and exhibition buses;
• any vehicle being driven away by the police; and
• vehicles used for carrying lifeboats.

*For full regulations regarding use of vehicles on the road

please refer to the relevant legislation for details.

More information at DVLA & Directgov websites.

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