Delayed trailer test law changes come into force

A adjust in the law letting any one who passed their driving check after 1997 to tow a significant trailer weighing up to 3,500kg has come into power.

Formerly, if you passed your driving check after 1997 and wished to tow, you were minimal to trailers with a greatest fat of 750kg. Following the law adjust, the restrict has risen to 3,500kg. The further towing check that was formerly necessary had presently been scrapped in anticipation of heavier trailer towing categories currently being mechanically added to all licences when the law was passed.

The Governing administration initial gave observe in September 2021 that it would scrap the further check for towing trailers up to 3,500kg, a go that was condemned at the time by basic safety charity IAM RoadSmart. 

Nevertheless, scrapping the trailer check is one particular of the causes the Governing administration has been in a position to announce an extra fifty,000 HGV lorry exams just about every yr, which the Driver and Vehicle Expectations Agency (DVSA) claims will support out a haulage industry struggling with driver shortages. The DVSA maintains “all car motorists will nevertheless be encouraged to undertake training to tow trailers and caravans”, but that has not satisfied IAM RoadSmart, which is itself a driver-training provider.

All through the consultation period of time, IAM RoadSmart elevated problems that the determination would exacerbate an current basic safety problem, stating that the DVSA’s very own roadside basic safety checks confirmed that up to 1 in 6 caravans that were stopped had a really serious basic safety difficulty. Moreover, up 4 in 10 small trailers were also uncovered with really serious basic safety challenges by the DVSA’s very own checks.

“The DSA had a clear basic safety reason for introducing the check in 1997, and these causes are nevertheless legitimate,” claims Grieg. “People have to have good training to be in a position to generate an articulated auto, especially when they are executing so for the initial time.”

Education for the quickly-to-be-scrapped trailer check was supposed to make sure motorists have the understanding and self-assurance to offer with challenges these kinds of as snaking – a lateral swaying motion of the trailer – or pitching, which is when the caravan’s front close moves up and down, pulling the rear of the car all-around like a seesaw. 

IAM RoadSmart is especially anxious about the increasing level of popularity of caravanning, spurred on by the trend towards staycations throughout the Covid pandemic, as exploration implies that several taking element in the caravanning boom have not any prior towing practical experience.

What is the law on towing?

As the law stands, only motorists who passed their check right before 1997 are authorized to tow trailers up to the 3,500kgs restrict, under the so-named ‘grandfather rights’. If you passed the check after 1997, you’re only authorized to tow up to 750kgs unless of course you get the trailer check to incorporate B and E categories to your licence.
When the law adjustments this autumn (the date is nevertheless to be confirmed), all driver records will be mechanically up to date to incorporate the B /E categories, but licences themselves will only be up to date when new photocards are ordered.

All trailer exams from upcoming twenty September are currently being cancelled mechanically, but there are no refunds or compensation for any one who has recently paid out for training or a check. It’s also worthy of noting that the latest guidelines nevertheless apply until the rule adjust will come into power in the autumn, so towing an overweight trailer nevertheless risks a hefty great.

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