April 2008

 

 

 

 

Licences and the law

Before you drive your motorhome off the forecourt, you'll need to check the entitlement you hold on your driving licence and the size of motorhome you are going to drive, to ensure you are road legal.

The categories shown on your licence allow you to drive vehicles up to certain weights, known as the maximum authorised mass (MAM). This is what used to be known as the Gross Vehicle Weight or GVW.

It is not only important for you to be aware of what your own licence will allow you to drive but when travelling with other people, you should also check their licence entitlement. It is worth considering that, if no one else has a licence enabling them to drive your vehicle, you may find yourself stranded if for some reason you find yourself unable to drive, or breaking the law if you let someone else take the wheel.

Category B (car) entitlement

If you have Category B entitlement on your licence, which means you passed the normal car driving test, which motorhome you can drive depends on how long you have had your licence:.
If you passed your test before 1 January 1997, you can drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes MAM, together with a trailer not exceeding 750 kilograms.

If you passed your test after 1 January 1997, you can only drive a vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes MAM plus a trailer of up to 750kg.

To tow a heavier trailer you will need category B+E entitlement and this will mean taking an additional driving test.

Category C1 (medium goods vehicle) entitlement

If you have Category C1 entitlement, you can drive vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes MAM but less than 7.5 tonnes (with or without a trailer up to 750 kilograms). To tow a heavier trailer you will need category C1+E entitlement.

If you passed the category C1+E test:
before 1 January 1997 (shown as C1+E (107) on the licence) you are limited to driving up to a combined weight of 8.25 tonnes. For example, a motorhome weighing 6 tonnes and a trailer weighing 2.25 tonnes
after 1 January 1997, you are entitled to drive combinations up to 12 tonnes in weight where the MAM of the trailer exceeds 750 kilograms but does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle

Category C (large goods vehicle) entitlement

If you have Category C entitlement, you can drive vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes MAM. To tow a trailer weighing more than 750 kilograms you will need category C+E entitlement. Motorhomes of this weight cannot be driven on a standard category B (car) licence, irrespective of when that category B entitlement was obtained.

Are you under 21?
EC Regulations limit drivers who are under 21 to vehicles or vehicle/trailer combinations which weigh no more than 7.5 tonnes MAM. However, 18 year old drivers are allowed to take a test for subcategory C1+E which will allow trailers in excess of 750kg MAM to be towed. Entitlement is limited to a combination weight of 7.5 tonnes MAM until the driver reaches 21 years, at which time the balance of 12 tonnes MAM entitlement automatically becomes effective.

For more information go to www.dvla.gov.uk
 

Remember, this is simply the Southdowns Team trying to offer helpful advice based on our knowledge and our experience. This is not necessarily a statement of fact. We do not currently employ any lawyers in our showroom or in our workshop and the only place law is confirmed is in the court!!