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Delay to introduction of new rules for towing trailers

New rules for towing trailers expected to come into force on 15th November 2021 will be pushed back and introduced at a later date in the year instead.

Whilst the delay will give licence holders more time to prepare for the changes, the rules will still depend on the date in which you originally passed your car driving test.

According to resources on the Gov.uk website, drivers will be legally required to adhere to the following rules in order to safely tow a trailer behind a car:

What you’re currently allowed to tow

Licences issued before 1 January 1997.

You will not be affected by the changes if you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997.

You’re usually allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM). View your driving licence information to check.

You’re also allowed to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM.

MAM is the limit on how much the vehicle can weigh when it’s loaded.

Licences issued from 1 January 1997 to 18 January 2013

If you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997 to 18 January 2013, you can currently drive either of the following:

a car or van up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM (up to 4,250kg in total).

a trailer over 750kg MAM, as long as it is no more than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle (up to 3,500kg in total).

You’ve had to pass a car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier.

Licences issued from 19 January 2013

If you passed your car driving test from 19 January 2013, you can currently drive either of the following:

a car or van up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM (up to 4,250kg in total).

a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg.

You’ve had to pass a car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier.

What will change later in 2021

If you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997, you’ll be allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg MAM when the law changes.

DVLA will update your driving licence record to show that you’re allowed to tow trailers. You’ll get category BE added to your driving licence when you get a new photocard driving licence.

You do not need to contact DVLA for this to happen. It will be done automatically.

What you can do until the law changes

Until the law changes, you must continue to follow the current rules about what you’re allowed to tow based on when you passed your car driving test.

You can be fined up to £1,000, be banned from driving and get up to 6 penalty points on your driving licence if you tow anything heavier before the law changes.

You’re only allowed to tow anything heavier if you’re being supervised. When you’re being supervised, you must:

display L plates to the front of the car and the rear of the trailer.

be accompanied by a person who’s at least 21 years old and has had category BE on their driving licence for at least 3 years.

Driving a car and trailer for the first time.

 

For more information on the changes and how it will impact you, visit www.gov.uk.


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