news article

New rules for towing from autumn 2021

15 Sep 2021 | Technical News

A significant change in rules concerning towing will come into operation during autumn 2021.

Less than 2 weeks after a consultation ended, the DVLA, DVSA and Department for Transport have announced owners of a standard car driving license (Category B) will be legally permitted to tow trailers of up to 3,500kg without any further training. Although a date has not yet been given, the change will occur in autumn 2021.  

The change is significant. Since 1997, anyone who passed their standard car driving test (category B) has been restricted to towing a much smaller trailer and have had to pass a car and trailer driving test if they want to tow anything heavier.

Licenses issued from 1st January 1997 to 18th January 2013:

  • a car or van up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (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) 

Licences issued from 19 January 2013 to present day:

  • 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 

The update will be carried out by DVLA automatically and allow any car license holder to tow a trailer up to a weight of 3,500kg MAM. 

Car and trailer driving tests will stop from 20th September 2021, which is before the law changes. However, until the law changes, drivers must continue to follow the current rules regarding towing.   

Regardless of the law change, employers are reminded of the need to ensure employees are competent to drive a car or van with trailer. Training providers such as Association member Train for Towing continue to offer packages which ensure drivers are taught how to load, attach and drive with a trailer. 

Our Association strongly recommends new drivers and those who have not previously driven with a trailer receive professional training before driving with a trailer either for domestic or commercial purposes.

Further reading:

DVSA announcement
Train for Towing

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