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Towing Trailers and / or Driving Light Goods Vehicles and Minibuses– what Driving Licences do I need?

Important

The notes in this section are for guidance only. Whilst we take every care to ensure the accuracy of the information contained therein any reference should be used for guidance only. Where more specific or legal advice is required we recommend consulting the relevant Government Agency.

''Many of these newer drivers are being advised by people who are unaware of the changes that occurred in driving licence entitlement, such as workplace managers or parents, and are consequently driving vehicles for which they don’t have a licence.''

Your attention is also drawn to the changes to driving licences and categories which came into force on 19th January 2013.

Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM)

In this section reference is made to the maximum authorised mass (MAM) of vehicles and trailers. This should be taken to mean the permissible maximum weight, also known as the gross vehicle weight.

This page contains the following sections:


Background

Within the work that we carry out at Drivex for businesses and other organisations we are increasingly finding that there is a high degree of misunderstanding about driving licence entitlements and what vehicles can subsequently be driven. This misunderstanding ranges from slight confusion to complete ignorance and is not restricted to those outside the world of driver training!

Most of this confusion relates to the following driving licence categories:

  • B+E      Car and trailer
  • C1        Light goods vehicle between 3500kg MAM and 7500kg MAM
  • C1+E    Light goods vehicle between 3500kg MAM and 7500kg MAM with trailer
  • D1        Minibus with up to 16 passenger seats
  • D1+E    Minibus with up to 16 passenger seats and trailer

Within this confusion there is also a lot of misunderstanding relating to photocard licence expiry dates, the need to use tachographs and the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC).

So, where do we begin? To understand the scope of the problem the best place to start is:

1st January 1997

Within the driver training industry this was, and still is, a very significant date. Yet at the time, and to the general public, it passed by with hardly a whimper. So what happened on 1st January 1997 that is still creating problems today?

The big change was in the type of driving licence drivers obtained once they passed their practical car driving test.

If you passed your practical car test (licence category B) before 1 January 1997 you would automatically also acquire licence categories BE, C1, C1E, D1 and D1E.

These additional categories are more commonly known as ‘Acquired Rights’ or ‘Grandfather Rights’.

For those drivers who passed their car test after 1 January 1997 they receive a driving licence with entitlement to drive category B vehicles only. To drive vehicles that fall within the additional categories listed above additional driving tests have to be taken.

The problem is that many drivers who passed their test since 1 January 1997 subsequently need to drive vehicles which fall into the additional categories. This might be through a need in the workplace (e.g. breakdown recovery trucks, heavy plant trailers, delivery driving, ambulances) or a social pastime (e.g. lorry horseboxes, horsebox trailers, boat trailers, vehicle transporters, caravans). Many of these drivers are being advised by people who are unaware of the changes that occurred in driving licence entitlement, such as workplace managers or parents, and are consequently driving vehicles for which they don’t have a licence. We can even give instances where police officers have given incorrect advice and issued penalties incorrectly!

The confusion is further compounded by the fact that some of the additional categories have different entitlements for those who acquired them with their car test (i.e. before 1 Jan 1997) to those who have acquired them by taking an additional driving test (i.e. after 1 Jan 1997)!

In order to try and give some clarity on the matter, below are listed the different licence categories and what can be driven on each of them:

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Category B

'Be aware that further changes to the towing restrictions for category B came in to force on January 19th 2013'

Category B is a vehicle up to 3500kgs MAM with up to 8 passenger seats and is the category obtained by passing a car practical driving test.

Towing trailers on a category B licence is permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

1. For those drivers who passed their Practical Car Test between 1st January 1997 and 18th January 2013 inclusive:

i.          If the towing vehicle has a MAM of 3500kgs then a trailer of up to 750kgs MAM is permitted

            OR

ii.          If the towing vehicle has a MAM of less than 3500kgs then a trailer can be towed provided that:

            a) the towing vehicle MAM and the trailer MAM combined do not exceed 3500kgs

            AND

            b) the trailer MAM does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.

2. For those drivers who passed their Practical Car Test on or after 19th January 2013:

i.          If the towing vehicle has a MAM of 3500kgs then a trailer of up to 750kgs MAM is permitted

            OR

ii.          If the towing vehicle has a MAM of less than 3500kgs then a trailer can be towed provided that:

            a) the towing vehicle MAM and the trailer MAM combined do not exceed 3500kgs

In order to tow heavier trailers outside of these limitations then a category B+E licence is required. 

As for towing caravans, as well as meeting the conditions above, existing general guidance recommends that the laden weight of the caravan does not exceed 85% of the unladen weight of the car.

An exemption from the driver licensing trailer limit allows a category B licence holder to tow a broken down vehicle from a position where it would otherwise cause danger or obstruction to other road users, to a point of safety. I.e. it does not permit the vehicle to be towed all the way to a garage or to home. Again, category B+E would be required for this.

By passing a category B test national categories F (tractor), K (pedestrian controlled vehicle) and P (moped) continue to be added automatically.

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Category B+E (BE)

'Be aware that further changes to the towing restrictions for category B+E came in to force on January 19th 2013'

Category B+E is a vehicle up to 3500kgs MAM with up to 8 passenger seats combined with a heavy trailer.

For those drivers who passed their category B+E Practical Test on or after 19th January 2013 there is an upper trailer weight limit of 3500kgs MAM. For those drivers who passed their B+E Practical Test prior to this date there is no defined trailer weight under category B+E except that which is governed by the towing capacity of the towing vehicle. For all category B+E licence-holders there is a maximum trailer length of 7.0 metres and a maximum trailer width of 2.55 metres. 

Drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 normally will also have category B+E entitlement.

Drivers who passed their car test after 1 January 1997will normally only have PROVISIONAL category B+E entitlement. To gain full B+E entitlement they will have to pass a Category B+E Practical Driving Test. Supervising drivers accompanying provisional B+E licence holders must have held a full B+E licence for at least 3 years.

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Category C1

Category C1 is for goods vehicles between 3500kgs MAM and 7500kgs MAM and is a subcategory of Category C.

Subcategory C1 vehicles may be coupled with a trailer up to 750kgs MAM allowing a combination of up to 8.25 tonnes MAM. However, the 750kgs MAM trailer weight limit is an absolute limit.

There is a minimum age requirement of 18 years for this category.

Drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 normally will also have category C1 entitlement.

Drivers who passed their car test after 1 January 1997 will have to meet higher medical standards, obtain a Category C1 Provisional Licence and then pass both theory and practical C1 driving tests to gain category C1.

To drive vehicles of this type professionally (i.e. in connection with a business or employment) drivers will also need to meet the Driver CPC requirement.

Supervising drivers accompanying provisional C1 licence holders must themselves have passed a C1, C1E, C or CE practical test and have held their full C1, C1E, C or CE licence for at least 3 years. A driver who holds category C1 or C1E only by virtue of ‘acquired rights’ can no longer act as a supervising driver.

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Category C1+E (C1E)

'Drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 normally will also have category C1E entitlement. However, they will have an absolute combined vehicle and trailer MAM of 8250kgs.'

Category C1E is for goods vehicles between 3500kgs MAM and 7500kgs MAM combined with trailers over 750kg MAM.

However, the trailer MAM entitlement varies depending on driver age and how the C1E entitlement was gained:

Drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 normally will also have category C1E entitlement. However, they will have an absolute combined vehicle and trailer MAM of 8250kgs.

Drivers who passed their car test after 1 January 1997 will to have to pass further tests - Category C1 (theory and practical) followed by C1E practical. There is no subcategory C1E theory test. It is not possible to go directly from category B to category C1E. Drivers who gain C1E in this manner can drive category C1 vehicles combined with a trailer over 750kgs MAM provided the combination does not exceed 12000kgs MAM and the laden weight of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle.

However, because EC regulations limit drivers aged under 21 years to driving vehicles or combinations which weigh no more than 7500kgs MAM, drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to drive subcategory C1E vehicles up to 12000kgs MAM. Drivers aged 18 to 21 are allowed to take a test for subcategory C1E, it just means that entitlement is limited to a combination weight of 7500kgs MAM until the driver reaches 21 years, at which time the balance of 12000kgs MAM entitlement automatically becomes effective.

'Drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 and wish to raise their combined vehicle and trailer MAM of 8250kgs to the full 12000kgs will have to meet the higher medical standards, obtain a Category C1E Provisional Licence and then pass both theory and practical C1+E driving tests.'

Drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 and wish to raise their combined vehicle and trailer MAM of 8250kgs to the full 12000kgs will have to meet the higher medical standards, obtain a Category C1E Provisional Licence and then pass both theory and practical C1+E driving tests (in this instance they do not have to take a C1 practical test beforehand).

To drive vehicles of this type professionally (i.e. in connection with a business or employment) drivers will also need to meet the Driver CPC requirement.

Supervising drivers accompanying provisional C1E licence holders must themselves have passed a C1E or CE practical test and have held their full C1E or CE licence for at least 3 years. In other words, a driver who holds category C1E only by virtue of ‘acquired rights’ can no longer act as a supervising driver; this rule changed in May 2010.

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Category D1

Category D1 is for minibuses of between 9 and 16 passenger seats and is a subcategory of Category D.

Subcategory D1 vehicles may be coupled with a trailer up to 750kgs MAM. There is no upper weight limit for subcategory D1 vehicles.

There is a minimum age requirement of 21 years for this category.

Drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 normally will also have category D1 entitlement but they cannot drive this category of vehicle for hire or reward. Hire or reward generally means any payment in cash or kind made by or on behalf of passengers that gives them the right to be carried in a vehicle.

To drive a category D1 minibus for hire or reward, or for drivers who passed their car test after 1 January 1997, the driver will have to meet higher medical standards, obtain a Category D1 Provisional Licence and then pass both theory and practical D1 driving tests to gain category D1.

To drive vehicles of this type professionally (i.e. in connection with a business or employment) drivers will also need to meet the Driver CPC requirement.

Supervising drivers accompanying provisional D1 licence holders must themselves have passed a D1, D1E, D or DE practical test and have held their full D1, D1E, D or DE licence for at least 3 years. A driver who holds category D1 or D1E only by virtue of ‘acquired rights’ can no longer act as a supervising driver.

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Category D1+E (D1E)

Subcategory D1+E vehicles may be combined with trailers over 750kgs provided the combination does not exceed 12000kgs MAM and the laden weight of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle. The trailer must not be used for the carriage of passengers.

Drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 normally will also have category D1E entitlement but they cannot drive this category of vehicle for hire or reward. Hire or reward generally means any payment in cash or kind made by or on behalf of passengers that gives them the right to be carried in a vehicle.

Drivers who passed their car test after 1 January 1997will to have to pass further tests - category D1 (theory and practical) followed by D1E practical. There is no subcategory D1+E theory test. It is not possible to go directly from category B to category D1E.

For those drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 and wish to drive category D1E vehicles for hire or reward, then they will have to meet the higher medical standards, obtain a Category D1E Provisional Licence and then pass both theory and practical D1E driving tests (in this instance they do not have to take a D1 practical test beforehand).

To drive vehicles of this type professionally (i.e. in connection with a business or employment) drivers will also need to meet the Driver CPC requirement.

Supervising drivers accompanying provisional D1E licence holders must themselves have passed a D1E or DE practical test and have held their full D1E or DE licence for at least 3 years. A driver who holds category D1E only by virtue of ‘acquired rights’ can no longer act as a supervising driver.

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Upgrading Entitlement for Trailers

In general, an additional driving test is required for each category or subcategory of entitlement. But there are certain exceptions to this where drivers have already passed one test which involves trailer entitlement for a larger or equivalent sized vehicle.

This means that passing a test for subcategory C1E or D1E upgrades category B entitlement to BE. A test pass for subcategory C1E upgrades subcategory D1, if held, to D1E. But a test pass for subcategory D1E does not upgrade subcategory C1 to C1E because the trailer size required for a subcategory D1E test is smaller than that required for a subcategory C1E test.

Passing a test for category CE upgrades category B entitlement to BE and also confers entitlement to subcategory C1 and C1E and, if category D or subcategory D1 is held, these are upgraded to category DE or subcategory D1E. A test passed for category DE upgrades category B and subcategory D1 to category BE and subcategory D1E respectively. But it does not upgrade category C or subcategory C1 entitlements because the trailer size required for a category DE test is smaller than that required for a category CE or subcategory C1E test.

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Exempted Large Goods Vehicles

Holders of a full category B (car) driving licence may drive any of the large vehicles listed below:

  • goods vehicle propelled by steam e.g. large vehicles with coal or wood burning engines
  • road construction vehicles used or kept on the road solely for the conveyance of built-in road construction machinery (with/without articles or materials used for the purpose of that machinery)
  • engineering plant vehicles (designed/constructed for the purpose of engineering operations)
  • works trucks (primarily designed for use in private premises or in the immediate vicinity eg dumper trucks/forklift trucks)
  • industrial tractors (tractors used mainly for haulage work off the public road, the vehicle must not have an unladen weight exceeding 7370kgs and have a design speed not exceeding 20mph)
  • agricultural motor vehicles which are not agricultural or forestry tractors (primarily used off the public road e.g. crop sprayer/combine harvester)
  • digging machines (vehicles which are limited to travel on public roads only for the purpose of proceeding to/from sites - used for trench digging or any kind of excavating or shoveling work e.g. vehicles with digging buckets/shovels)
  • goods vehicle which is not used on public roads or, if it is so used during any calendar week:

i. is used only in passing from land in the occupation of a person keeping the vehicle to other land in the occupation of that person

ii. is not used on public roads for distances exceeding an aggregate of 9.7 kilometres in that calendar week

  • goods vehicle, other than an agricultural motor vehicle, which is used only for purposes relating to agriculture, horticulture or forestry:

i. is used on roads only in passing between different areas of land occupied by the same person

ii. in passing between any two such areas does not travel a distance exceeding 1.5 kilometres on roads

  • goods vehicles used for no purpose other than the haulage of lifeboats and the conveyance of the necessary gear of the lifeboats which are being hauled
  • goods vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1960, used unladen and not drawing a laden trailer
  • articulated goods vehicles not exceeding 3.05 tonnes unladen weight
  • goods vehicle in the service of a visiting force or headquarters as defined in the visiting forces and international headquarters (application of law order 1965 (a))
  • goods vehicle driven by a constable for the purpose of removing or avoiding obstruction to other road users or other members of the public, for the purpose of protecting life or property (including the vehicle and its load) or for other similar purposes
  • goods vehicle fitted with apparatus designed for raising a disabled vehicle partly from the ground and for drawing a disabled vehicle when so raised (whether by partial superimposition or otherwise) being a vehicle which

i. is used solely for dealing with disabled vehicles

ii. is not used for the conveyance of any goods or load other than a disabled vehicle when so raised and water, fuel, accumulators and articles required for the operation of, or in connection with, such apparatus or otherwise for dealing with disabled vehicles

iii. has an unladen weight not exceeding 3.05 tonnes

  • mobile project vehicles - having a maximum authorised mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes and constructed/adapted to carry not more than 8 persons in addition to the driver and carries principally goods or burden consisting of

i. play/educational equipment and articles required in connection with the use of such equipment

ii. articles required for the purposes of display or of an exhibition, and the primary purpose of which is used as a recreational, educational or instructional facility when stationary

Drivers must be aged 21 and have held a category B licence for at least 2 years. A mobile project vehicle may only be driven on behalf of a non-commercial body. However, drivers who passed their car test before 1 January 1997 are not subject to these conditions.

Mobile Cranes

Category B licence holders were able to drive mobile cranes up until 31 December 1998. From 1 January 1999 a category C1 driving licence is required to drive a mobile crane weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes and category C if over 7.5 tonnes.

Minimum Ages

Driving an exempted goods vehicle is determined by its weight. Vehicles with a maximum authorised mass weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes may be driven at age 18 years. Vehicles which weigh more than 7.5 tonnes can be driven from the age of 21 years.

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Exempted Passenger Carrying Vehicles

Holders of a full category B (car) driving licence may drive any of the vehicles listed below:

  • a passenger carrying vehicle manufactured more than 30 years before the date when it is driven and not used for hire or reward or for the carriage of more than 8 passengers
  • a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats provided the following conditions are met:

i. the vehicle is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body but not for hire or reward
ii. the driver is aged 21
iii. the driver has held a car (category B) licence for at least 2 years
iv. the driver is providing the service on a voluntary basis
v. the minibus maximum weight is not more than 3.5 tonnes or 4.25 tonnes including any specialist equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers
vi. if the driver is aged 70 or over, is able to meet the health standards for driving a D1 vehicle

When driving a minibus under these conditions you may not receive any payment or consideration for doing so other than out of pocket expenses or tow any size trailer; you may only drive minibuses in this country. Drivers aged 70 or over will need to make a special application, which involves meeting higher medical standards.

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Photocard Driving Licence Expiry Date.

Within the work that we carry out at Drivex we regularly come across drivers who have a photocard licence which has expired. This should not be confused with driving licence expiry date.

The photocard part of a driving licence is generally valid for a period of up to ten years whereas driving licence expiry is generally at age 45 and/or 70 depending on type of licence.

To check your photocard expiry date look at the front of your photocard licence and the date printed under section 4b.

If you do not renew your photocard licence before the photocard expiry date but you have not yet reached your driving licence expiry date you are in a curious situation whereby, although you still have entitlement to drive you don’t actually have a valid driving licence. This in effect means that you are driving illegally.

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Driver CPC: how to get and keep it

If you are a professional bus, coach or lorry driver you must have a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). Find out below how to get your Driver CPC if you are new to driving professionally and what rules apply if you are an existing driver.

The Driver CPC qualification

Driver CPC is a qualification for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers. It will:

  • improve driver knowledge and skills before they start driving
  • develop driver knowledge and skills throughout their working life
  • improve road safety through better qualified drivers

If you are new to professional driving

If you are a new driver, you must pass an initial Driver CPC qualification before you can drive professionally.

The initial Driver CPC qualification is contained within the overall vocational licence acquisition process and is split into four modules:

  • module one - theory test (multiple-choice and hazard perception)
  • module two - case studies
  • module three - practical test of driving ability
  • module four - vehicle safety demonstration

You must pass all four modules to be able to drive professionally.

Taking periodic training to keep your Driver CPC

You must do 35 hours of periodic training every five years to keep your Driver CPC.

Periodic training involves attending courses on various aspects of professional driving. You must do 35 hours of periodic training every five years to keep your Driver CPC. Only approved courses taken with approved training centres will count towards periodic training.

If you drive both lorries and buses professionally you only need to complete one set of training every five years if you have a passenger carrying vehicle and a large goods vehicle licence.

If you have Driver CPC by 'acquired rights'

If you are an existing professional driver, you will have gained valuable experience in your work. You will have 'acquired rights' for five years, meaning that you will be deemed to have Driver CPC. This applies to you if you are a:

  • bus or coach driver and got your vocational licence (D, D1, D+E and D1+E) before 10 September 2008
  • lorry driver and got your vocational licence (C, C1, C+E and C1+E) before 10 September 2009

If you have 'acquired rights' you don’t need to pass the initial qualification. However, you must complete 35 hours of periodic training to keep your Driver CPC.

Proof of your Driver CPC: the Driver Qualification Card (DQC)

After you have passed the initial qualification you'll get a Driver Qualification Card (DQC).

It's unlawful to drive professionally without having your DQC.

Driver CPC is enforced in all European Union (EU) member states.

If you are driving professionally in another EU country, you must still have a valid Driver CPC.

When Driver CPC is not needed

Non-commercial driving

You don't need Driver CPC if you are driving a vehicle for non-commerical carriage of passengers or goods for personal use.

You might not need Driver CPC. Whether you need it or not will depend on:

  • the vehicle you drive
  • what the vehicle is being used for

Vehicles you can drive where you don't need Driver CPC

You won't need Driver CPC if the vehicle you drive is:

  • being road tested after repair, maintenance or technical development
  • new or rebuilt and hasn't yet been put into service
  • limited to a top speed of no more than 28 miles per hour (45 kilometres per hour)

Vehicle uses where you don't need Driver CPC

You won't need Driver CPC if the vehicle you drive is:

  • used for non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods for personal use
  • used to carry material or equipment that you use for your job - but driving the vehicle can't be the main part of your job
  • used for driving lessons for anyone who wants to get a driving licence or a Driver CPC
  • used by, or is under the control of, the armed forces, civil defence, the fire service and forces responsible for maintaining public order
  • used in states of emergency or for rescue missions

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Drivers’ Hours and the use of Tachographs

The rules on Drivers’ hours and the use of tachographs can be extremely complex and if in doubt we would advise that clarification be sought from VOSA.

As a starting point though we have produced some of the more common questions and answers regarding this topic:

  1. What is a tachograph?

A tachograph is a recording device fitted to a vehicle that is capable of recording details of vehicle speed, distance covered and driver duty and rest during a given period.

  1. When do I need a tachograph?

Under the EC rules you must use a tachograph to record hours of driving, other work, breaks and rest periods when engaged in the driving of a qualifying vehicle.

  1. When are drivers exempt from the EC rules?

Drivers are exempt from the EC drivers' hours rules and from the tachograph rules (see following questions) when engaged in the following transport operations anywhere in the European Community. UK Drivers Hours Rules may apply for the drivers' hours and record-keeping requirements for these operations.

  • Vehicles used for the carriage of goods where the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle, including any trailer or semi-trailer, does not exceed 3.5 tonnes
  • Vehicles with a maximum authorised speed not exceeding 30 kilometres per hour
  • Vehicles used by or under the control of the armed services, civil defence, fire services, and forces responsible for maintaining public order
  • Vehicles used in connection with the sewerage, flood protection, water, gas and electricity services, highway maintenance and control, refuse collection and disposal, telegraph and telephone services, carriage of postal articles, radio and television broadcasting and the detection of radio or television transmitters or receivers
  • Vehicles used in emergencies or rescue operations
  • Specialised vehicles used for medical purposes
  • Vehicles transporting circus and fun-fair equipment
  • Specialised breakdown vehicles
  • Vehicles undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance purposes, and new or rebuilt vehicles which have not yet been put into service. (This would not apply to vehicles, normally falling in scope of the EC rules, on journeys to Testing Stations for the purposes of an annual test)
  • Vehicles used for non-commercial carriage of goods for personal use
  • Vehicles used for milk collection from farms and the return to farms of milk containers or milk products intended for animal feed.

Drivers are also exempt from the EC drivers' hours and tachograph rules when engaged in the following transport operations in the UK. In these instances UK Drivers Hours Rules may apply.

  • Vehicles used by agricultural, horticultural, forestry or fishery undertakings for carrying goods within a 50 kilometre radius of the place where the vehicle is normally based, including local administrative areas, the centres of which are situated within that radius. (In the case of fishery undertakings the exemption applies only to the movement of fish from landing to first processing on land and of live fish between fish farms)
  • Vehicles used for carrying animal waste or carcasses which are not intended for human consumption
  • Vehicles used for carrying live animals from farms to local markets and vice versa or from markets to local slaughterhouses
  • Vehicles used as shops at local markets or for door-to-door selling or used for mobile banking, exchange or saving transactions, for worship, for the lending of books, records or cassettes, for cultural events or exhibitions, and specially fitted for such uses
  • Vehicles with a maximum permissible weight of not more than 7.5 tonnes carrying material or equipment for the driver's use in the course of his work within a 50 kilometre radius of the place where the vehicle is normally based, provided that driving the vehicle does not constitute the driver's main activity
  • Vehicles operating exclusively on islands not exceeding 2,300 square kilometres in area, which are not linked to the rest of Great Britain by a bridge, ford or tunnel open for use by motor vehicles
  • Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (including batteries) of not more than 7.5 tonnes used for the carriage of goods and solely propelled by means of gas or electricity (this does not include petrol or diesel start-up engines or any other type of dual-fuelled engine)
  • Vehicles used for driving instruction with a view to obtaining a driving licence, but excluding instruction on a journey connected with carrying a commercial load.


Note: The fitment and use of a tachograph will be required under Commission Directive 2000/56, with effect from 30 September 2003, for certain vehicles first registered from that date which are used for a driving test (use of the equipment will only be necessary for the duration of the test).

  • Vehicles operated by The Royal National Lifeboat Institution
  • Vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1947
  • Vehicles propelled by steam
  • Vehicles used by health authorities and NHS Trusts as ambulances or to carry staff, patients, medical supplies or equipment (this includes vehicles used by Strategic Health Authorities, NHS Trusts or Primary Care Trusts) Vehicles used by Local Authority social service departments to provide services for the elderly or physically or mentally handicapped
  • Vehicles used by HM coastguard and lighthouse services
  • Vehicles used by harbour or airport authorities if the vehicles remain wholly within the confines of ports or airports
  • Tractors used exclusively for agricultural and forestry work
  1. Which drivers' hours rules do I follow?

EC rules apply to drivers of most vehicles used for the carriage of goods (including dual purpose vehicles), where the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle, including any trailer or semi-trailer, exceeds 3.5 tonnes. The following countries are subject to the EC drivers' hours and tachograph rules:

Austria

Belgium

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Republic of Ireland

Italy

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

The Netherlands

Poland

Portugal

Slovak Republic

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

 

UK domestic rules apply to drivers of goods vehicles in the UK which are exempt from the EC rules. But when travelling abroad in these vehicles, drivers must observe the national rules of the countries to be visited. The Embassies of these countries will be able to assist in establishing the rules that might apply. AETR rules apply to the whole of any journey if any part of it passes through an AETR country.

NB: For journeys to other European countries not subject to either the EC or AETR rules such as Iceland the EC or AETR rules apply as described above in the Community but whilst travelling through the country concerned the domestic rules of that country must be observed. The Embassies of the countries to be visited will be able to assist in establishing the rules that might apply.

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