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New rules for towing a trailer with a car

Towing Trailers has Changed

On the 15th of November 2021, the rules regarding towing a caravan or trailer are changing. Once Parliamentary approval is granted, the new rules will dictate what a driver can tow depending on when they passed their driving test.

The change is primarily designed to help target the UK shortage of lorry drivers. Following a government consultation, it was decided that these rule changes mean more lorry testing can be offered. Previously, anyone who passed their test after the 1st of January 1997 needed to attend a course for driving a car towing a trailer and then pass a subsequent test. The government believe that the amount of space this will free up will positively and quickly impact the lorry driver shortage.

What Changes?

This is a positive change for any driver who passed their test from the 1st of January 1997. Up till now, you have not been able to tow a trailer automatically but had to undergo further testing. From the 15th of November 2021, your license is being upgraded to add the category BE, which means you are allowed to tow any trailer up to 3500kg MAM.

This is being done automatically on your behalf by DVLA. Your driving license record will be updated. The next time you renew, the category will be shown on your photocard driving license.

Fines are still being given out for anyone who either makes this change before the official date or does not fall into the category of passing their test after the 1st of January 1997. The maximum fine is £1000, and you will also get six penalty points on your driving license, so be sure you understand how this change affects you.

For drivers wanting to tow anything heavier than the 3500 kg limit, the following rules will also apply:

  • You must be under supervision by someone over 21 and has had the category BE on their driving license for more than three years.
  • Display the correct L plates both on the front of your vehicle and the back of the trailer.

Further Information

If you passed your test before the 1st of January 1997, you would automatically have had the category BE on your driving license since you passed. You already have the ability to drive a vehicle towing a trailer up to 8250 kg MAM. Generally, you will also have the category that allows you to drive a minibus pulling a trailer over 750 kg MAM. You can check this information quickly on your license. So, for drivers in this category, there is no change.