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Towing Law


Adi
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SWMBO didn`t decide to take driving test until after 97 and therefore cannot now legally tow our outfit. I have seen comments about people driving using L Plates. Please can anyone advise if this is true and if so can she tow under supervision on Motorways etc and does the caravan have to display an L plate as well as the car.

 

I cant find any clear info on the DVLA site. ..

Edited by Adi
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SWMBO didn`t decide to take driving test until after 97 and therefore cannot now legally tow our outfit.

 

I cant find any clear info on the DVLA site. ..

 

Hi,

 

The DVLA website could be better worded. if you insert the word "OR", it makes more sense.

 

Your wife can tow a 750kg trailer. That's even if it weighs more than the tow car, but the trailer will need brakes. Its difficult to think of a towcar that weighs less than 750kg.

 

OR

 

Your wife can tow a trailer with a MAM not more than the unladen weight of the tow car. Whether this is of any use to you will depend on your individual combination of vehicles.

 

At least, thats my interpretation of the rules. If you think you might be able to comply, it will be worth investigating further. What exactly does a group B licence show in the pictogram area?

 

Sign post as you enter a motorway says "no learners". I would hate to argue about what is a learner in those circumstances . .... unless somebody knows different? I'm always willing to learn.

 

602

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There is one other criteria that the combination does not exceed 3. 5 tonnes MAM. However, I would think that a combination with a Freelander would not exceed this, but would be close so you need to check.

For details see this link

 

http://www. direct. gov. uk/en/Motoring/Drive. ..les/DG_10013073

 

Brian

Edited by BrianI
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This posting has just made me realize something.

My son has a cat. B licence and often tows our caravan with his TDCI Mondeo.

Yesterday he borrowed a trailer from a mate.

Trailer has 3 axles, and a gross weight of 3. 5 tonnes, we believe the miro to be about 750kgs.

With approximately 1 tonne of sand on the trailer it would obviously weigh in at 1750 kgs, within the towing the towing limit of the car.

 

The point is, would this combination be legal for him even if the trailer was empty?

The opinions posted in this forum are not necessarily those of the author, they may have been influenced by the voices in my head.

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As far as I can see its the MAM = maximum authorised mass which is the criteria, so even if the trailer is empty its MAM is above the limit = illegal

2018 S-Max Titanium 2. 0 Tdci (177. 54bhp,180ps,132kw) Powershift + 2015 Unicorn III Cadz, Ventura Marlin porch awning

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Unladen Weight means weight of trailer/vehicle empty. ...Gross Vehicle Weight ( or MAM as it is often called ) is the Unladen Weight plus the maximum that it CAN carry not what it is actually carrying

 

 

You said Goss Vehicle Weight of Trailer is 3500kgs, add on weight of car and combination is illegal on a Cat B licence. .So not legal for son even if trailer is empty

if the set up with the sand was towed by you then it would be OK as long as you have B+E licence

 

 

I would also check GVW of your caravan and GVW of Mondeo, if it exceeds 3500kgs then it is illegal for your son to drive it

 

Why English law is so complicated i don't know

 

Cheers

Hobbynut

Edited by Hobbynut

It wasn't me. .The big lads did it and ran away

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Thanks for the quick responses,

You have confirmed what I already suspected.

As for towing our caravan, he is OK, the van has mltpm of 1340

The opinions posted in this forum are not necessarily those of the author, they may have been influenced by the voices in my head.

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Driving with a trailer attached on motorways and other roads, with L plates, is permitted for full B licence holders when being supervised by a B+E holder - same as those preparing for HGV or PSV tests are permitted to.

 

Many of us, with pre-97 rights to B+E, don't actually have the +E on our licence, having never applied for a replacement - I don't know if we're permitted to supervise +E learners - I suspect not as passing the original driving test didn't permit learner supervision until the provisional + pass certificate had been exchanged for a full licence.

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The statutary instrument that defines what you can tow can be found at http://www. opsi. gov. uk/si/si1999/19992864. htm#sch2 what it says about category b licences is

 

 

Motor vehicles, other than vehicles included in category A, F, K or P, having a maximum authorised mass not exceeding 3. 5 tonnes and not more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat, including:

 

(i) a combination of any such vehicle and a trailer where the trailer has a maximum authorised mass not exceeding 750 kilogrammes, and

 

(ii) a combination of any such vehicle and a trailer where the maximum authorised mass of the combination does not exceed 3. 5 tonnes and the maximum authorised mass of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the tractor vehicle.

 

Now the question arises in part (ii) above when it says that the maximum authorised mass of the combination does not exceed 3. 5 tonnes is very much open to question and in fact a friend of mine has had a query which he made to the ministry about this passed on to the DVLA for a definitive answer which we are still waitung for. The question is this what is the MAM of the combination, is it the maximum train weight of the towcar, or is it the sum of the mam of the towcar and the mam of the trailer, or is it the lesser of these two figures. I suspect that it must be the last one of these but until the DVLA answer we have no way of knowing.

 

So if the maximum train weight of your towcar is greater than 3500kg I would make sure that the sum of the mams is less than 3500kg to be legal and if the sum of the mams is greater than 3500kg then you need to make sure that the max train weight for the towcar is 3500kg or less.

Edited by Bill Lord

Bill

 

Growing old is compulsory, growing up is not.

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Bill Lord's post raises an interesting question where the plated Gross Train Weight of a vehicle doesn't exceed 3500kg but the sum of the MAMs of towcar and trailer does.

 

In reality, caravans are rarely towed at significantly less than their MTPLM - if you are a B only licence holder AND are very close to the 3500kg outfit limit AND think you can take advantage of light-loading the caravan IF DVLA confirm this issue, then I STRONGLY suggest that weighing the light-loaded caravan will be necessary rather than calculation or assumption.

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You dont need a particularly heavy car to be over the gross train weight of 3500kg. Just had a look at the plate on my S60 and the gross train weight is 3630Kg and the car MAM is 2030kg, leaving 1600kg as max tow weight, which is over 100% of the kerb weight so I wont be anywhere near that. However with a B only licence I would be limited to a 1470Kg MTPLM caravan. I am sure there must be others that would be close towing with the likes of a Mondeo or the Freelander metioned in the original post.

Roger

I dont see how you can have a situation where the sum of the MAMs of towcar and trailer exceeds 3500kg, but the train weight doesn't.

I think Bills question relates to my situation where my car has an authorised train weight above 3500kg but my car MAM plus caravan MTPLM is less than 3500Kg. I believe you only need a B licence but now I am not sure. I am OK anyway as I hold a pre 1997 licence.

Brian

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SWMBO didn`t decide to take driving test until after 97 and therefore cannot now legally tow our outfit. I have seen comments about people driving using L Plates. Please can anyone advise if this is true and if so can she tow under supervision on Motorways etc and does the caravan have to display an L plate as well as the car.

 

I cant find any clear info on the DVLA site. ..

 

Hi Adi

 

I have to say I'm impressed a 98 year old wants to tow a van ;)

 

She could always sit the +E bit to allow her to tow, costs a packet

mind you - about a grand all in with test and vat.

 

neil

Bailey S5 Pageant Auvergne & Vauxhall Signum CDTI

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Brian - depending how Bill Lord's friend's question to DVLA is answered, it would be easy.

 

eg:- B only driver with towcar 1600kg kerb, 2100kg MAM, gross train weight 3500 could tow a trailer with MAM of 1600kg PROVIDED the actual laden weight was 1400kg.

 

My only sight of the outfit limit for B only drivers refers specifically to the sum of the MAMs of the oufit not exceeding 3500kg, with no alternative of the gross train weight if lower - my understanding is that this makes it easy for the outhorities to check an outfit without recorse to a weighbridge - we shall have to wait on DVLA's interpretation but don't hold your breath, as this is legislation is intended as part of the gradual transition towards pan-European driving licences.

 

For the moment it's best to use the conventional interpretation - for a B only driver, the trailer MAM must not exceed the kerbweight of the towing vehicle and the sum of the MAMs for towing vehicle and trailer must not exceed 3500kg. The sum of the actual weights of the towing vehicle and trailer must not exceed the towing vehicles plated gross train weight but that applies to all drivers.

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What would be interesting would be if the DVLA tried to argue that the MAM of the combination was anything other than the lowest of the two possible solutions. In that instance anyone caught out by their interpretation could challenge the decision in court and quoting the words of the statutary instrument it would be difficult to see a situation where the court could not support the driver. It is clear that the maximum train weight is a candidate for the MAM for the combination, but it is equally clear the sum of the two MAMs is also a candidate for the MAM for the combimation and this being the case the lower of the two figures must be the absolute limit for the combination.

Bill

 

Growing old is compulsory, growing up is not.

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Guys - many thanks for all the replies but I was actually only asking about displaying L plates etc. . :D

 

My Freelander 2 has a MAM of 2. 5 ton and the caravan is just under 1. 5 ton so we go over. ...

 

I guess a L plate has to be attached to caravan as well as the car

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Guys - many thanks for all the replies but I was actually only asking about displaying L plates etc. . :D

 

My Freelander 2 has a MAM of 2. 5 ton and the caravan is just under 1. 5 ton so we go over. ...

 

I guess a L plate has to be attached to caravan as well as the car

Yes

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Have a look at this for the answer

 

http://www. ntta. co. uk/law/law/driving_licences. htm

 

Cheers

Hobbynut

 

Hi Hobbynut,

 

Vehicles up to 3. 5 tonnes (category B) with a 750kg trailer (4. 25 tonnes total MAM).

 

Category B vehicles with larger trailers i. e. > 750kg, provided that the combined MAM does not exceed 3. 5 tonnes and the gross MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle. To be able to tow combinations outside this ruling requires the passing of an additional test.

 

The above, copied from the link you mentioned, is phrased better than some versions I have read.

 

In the first paragraph, is there a risk that somebody will interpret the 4,200kg limit as over-riding the 3500kg + 750kg? Like, 3,499kg towcar + 751kg trailer. Naw. ...shouldn't happen! For most of us in this group, the first paragraph is irrelevent, I think.

 

So the second paragraph aplies to most of us. The optimum figures are 1750MAM tow car with 1750kg trailer, giving a total of 3500kg. Doesn't sound too difficult.

 

The only reference I have to hand is the driver's manual for a 1992 Land Rover Discovery. MGW is quoted at 2720kg. Ooops! That leaves only 780kg available for the trailer, and thats MGW. The solution is to find a car with a lower MGW, even though a heavier car is believed to be safer. So a B licence holder in a Disco can pull a Freedom caravan, but not much else?

 

Perhaps of interest, the same book quotes the EEC definition of Kerbweigh . ....

 

. .... UNLADEN WEIGHT + FULL FUEL TANK + 75kg DRIVER.

 

If I fit extra fuel tanks, can I tow a heavier caravan?

 

602

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Hi Hobbynut,

 

Category B vehicles with larger trailers i. e. > 750kg, provided that the combined MAM does not exceed 3. 5 tonnes and the gross MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.

 

Hi,

 

I just read that again. It says unladen weight. Doh!

 

602

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The optimum figures are 1750MAM tow car with 1750kg trailer, giving a total of 3500kg. Doesn't sound too difficult.

 

602

Not quite - for a B only driver, the trailer has to be less than the kerbweight - a 1525kg kerbweight car with 1975kg MAM can tow a 1525kg MAM trailer - it depends how much the car's payload is - there are few cars with payload less than 450kg so a 1525kg MTPLM trailer is about the optimum.

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Perhaps of interest, the same book quotes the EEC definition of Kerbweigh . ....

 

. .... UNLADEN WEIGHT + FULL FUEL TANK + 75kg DRIVER.

 

If I fit extra fuel tanks, can I tow a heavier caravan?

 

602

The EC definition of kerbweight should be = dry weight +90% fuel & other fluids +75kg driver

 

So yes you do increase the kerbweight if you add extra fuel tanks, convert to LPG with additional tank or add a water ballast tank - but in reality anyone wanting to go over their original 100% would do better to buy a heavier towcar.

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I have read this post with a great deal of interest. Being over the age of 70 years and not retaining my right to drive vehicles of 7. 5 tonnes (didn't take the medical). I wondered what the situation would be if I changed my car for a large 4x4 and upgraded the 'van to a fixed bed twin axle. Would I be licensed to use such an outfit? I am told by the DVLA that because I have groups B and E on my licence I would still be legally able to drive such a combination provided that the weight of the tow car didn't exceed 3500Kg and the 'van didn't exceed the weight of the towcar. So, basically, in the case of drivers who passed their driving tests before 1997 the 3500kg combined weight of the outfit will not apply.

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Quack,

You are correct in what you say but its a little more generous. This is what it says

 

All drivers who passed a car test before 1 January 1997 retain their existing entitlement to tow trailers until their licence expires. This means they are generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8. 25 tonnes MAM.

 

http://www. direct. gov. uk/en/Motoring/Drive. ..cles/DG_4022564

 

There is no mention of the trailer being less than the kerbweight although it would be wise to keep it so. I don't believe there are any normal road vehicles with a MAM in excess of 3500kg, maybe something like a Hummer?

Brian

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Category B vehicles with larger trailers i. e. > 750kg, provided that the combined MAM does not exceed 3. 5 tonnes and the gross MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle. To be able to tow combinations outside this ruling requires the passing of an additional test. [/b][/i]

 

This interpretation of what the law actually says is open to interpretation. What the law actually states ( statutary instrument 1999 No 2864 schedule 2 part one ) is

 

a combination of any such vehicle and a trailer where the maximum authorised mass of the combination does not exceed 3. 5 tonnes and the maximum authorised mass of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the tractor vehicle.

 

This can be interpeted two ways one is that the MAM of the combination is the max laden weight of the towcar as plated on the vehicle, the second is the sum of the two mams of the towcar and the caravan, the only thing that is clear is that the one that counts must be less than 3. 5 tonnes, but it would not surprise me if Plod decided that both figures had to be less than 3. 5 tonnes. So would a car with a max train weight of 3500kg towing, a mam of 2200 kg and a kerbweight of 1600kg, towing a caravan with a MTLM of 1400kg be legal. or as an alternative would a car with a max train weight of 3800kg a mam of 2025kg and a kerbweight of 1500kg be legal towing a caravan with a MTPLM of 1450kg. Both outfits could be said to have a combined mam of 3. 5tonnes or less on one definition and have a combined mam that is greater than 3. 5tonnes by the other definition.

 

 

 

As I said earlier one of my friends has asked that question of the DVLA and last night got an answer from them which simply stated the wording in the stautary instrument above and did not give an answer, so I have today written to my MP and asked him to pass the question through to the various ministries for a definitive answer. I await the reply with baited breath but do seriously doubt whether the right hand of the system knows what the left hand is doing, in the end I would think that the only way of getting the answer would be to get prosecuted and argue it in court.

Bill

 

Growing old is compulsory, growing up is not.

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As I said earlier one of my friends has asked that question of the DVLA and last night got an answer from them which simply stated the wording in the stautary instrument above and did not give an answer, so I have today written to my MP and asked him to pass the question through to the various ministries for a definitive answer. I await the reply with baited breath but do seriously doubt whether the right hand of the system knows what the left hand is doing, in the end I would think that the only way of getting the answer would be to get prosecuted and argue it in court.

 

 

The old adage is that the law is interpreted by the courts which then creates precedent for later judgments. I'm sure that is what DVLA / VOSA will say if pressed on the point.

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