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New rules for towing trailers with a car or small vehicle

New EU driving licence rules came into force on 19 January 2013, for drivers of cars and small vehicles (category B and BE) to tow trailers. The new rules apply if you pass your test after that date. Find out how these changes could affect you.


Existing car or small vehicle drivers  

If you already have a licence to drive cars or small vehicles (category B and BE), you'll keep your entitlement to tow trailers. Your entitlement to tow trailers will stay as it was when you passed your driving test. 

To view current towing entitlements go to www.drivex.co.uk/driving-licence-info

To tow heavier trailers after 19 January 2013, you'll need to follow the rules for new drivers, below.


New drivers from 19 January 2013

If you pass your test to drive cars or small vehicles up to 3,500 kilograms (kg) (category B) from 19 January 2013, you’ll be able to tow:

  • light trailers weighing no more than 750 kg
  • trailers weighing more than 750 kg, where the combined weight of the towing vehicle (car or small vehicle) and the trailer is not more than 3,500 kg.

Category BE

If your trailer weighs over 750 kg and the combined trailer and towing vehicle weight is more than 3,500 kg, you’ll need to pass a further test. The trailer you tow must not be heavier than 3,500 kg. This test will be shown on your driving licence as category BE.

Category C1E

To tow a trailer weighing more than 3,500 kg with a car or small vehicle (category B), you’ll need to pass a test for category C1E.


New rules for vehicles you can drive and minimum ages

New rules on age restrictions for driving came into force on 19 January 2013. These changes include the age when you can drive certain vehicles and the types of vehicles you can drive in some categories. Find out how these changes could affect you.

Existing driving licence holders

If you already have a driving licence, you'll keep your entitlements to drive the different types of vehicles shown on your driving licence.

If you want to drive or pass a test for additional vehicles on or after 19 January 2013, you'll come under the new rules.

New drivers from 19 January 2013

New drivers will have to meet the new minimum age for driving vehicles. The new category descriptions will apply to you if you learn to drive or pass a driving test on or after 19 January 2013.

The minimum age for driving medium and large goods and or passenger carrying vehicles (categories C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D, and DE) applies to non-professional driving only.

For professional driving, some of these vehicles can be driven at a younger age if the driver has a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification.

The age limits for driving cars and cars towing trailers will not change.

The tables below show what you can drive at what age under the new rules from 19 January 2013.

Moped and light quadricycle

Category

Description

Minimum age

P*

Motor vehicles with less than four wheels with a maximum design speed exceeding 45km/h but not exceeding 50km/h and which, is propelled by an internal combustion engine, has a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50cc

16

Q*,**

Motor vehicles with less than four wheels which are propelled by an internal combustion engine, has a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50cc and, if not equipped with pedals by means of which the vehicle is capable of being propelled, has a maximum design speed not exceeding 25km/h

16

AM**

Two-wheel vehicles or three-wheel vehicles with a maximum design speed of not more than 45km/h

16

AM**

With an unladen mass of not more than 350kg, not including the mass of the batteries in case of electric vehicles, whose maximum design speed is not more than 45km/h

16

* National category only.

** New category.

Motorcycles and tricycles

Category

Description

Minimum age

A1*

A motorcycle with a cylinder capacity not exceeding 125cc, of a power not exceeding 11kW and with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.1kW per kg

17

A1*

A motor tricycle with power not exceeding 15kW

19

A2**

A motorcycle of a power not exceeding 35kW, with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2kW per kg and not being derived from a vehicle
of more than double its power

19

A*

A motorcycle of a power exceeding 35kW or with a power to weight ratio exceeding 0.2kW per kg

24***

A*

A motor tricycle with a power exceeding 15kW

24***

*New category description.

** New category.

***Age 21 if you have two years' experience on an A2 motorcycle and you pass a further practical test.

Four wheeled light vehicles

Category

Description

Minimum age

B1

Motor vehicles with four wheels up to 550kg unladen and invalid carriages

17*

* Age 16 if you are getting Disability Living Allowance (mobility allowance) at the higher rate.

Cars

The term maximum authorised mass (MAM) means the total weight of the vehicle plus the maximum load it can carry safely.

Category

Description

Minimum age

B

Motor vehicles with a MAM not exceeding 3500kg and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer up to 750kg

17*

B

Motor vehicles with a MAM not exceeding 3500kg and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer over 750kg, where the combination MAM is not exceeding 3500kg

17*

B+E

Combinations of vehicles consisting of a vehicle in category B and a trailer, where the combination does not come within category B and the MAM of the trailer or semi-trailer does not exceed 3500kg

17*

*Age 16 if you are getting Disability Living Allowance (mobility allowance) at the higher rate.

Medium sized vehicles with or without trailers

Category

Description

Minimum age

C1

Vehicles between 3500kg and 7500kg, and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer up to 750kg

18*,**

C1+E

Vehicles between 3500kg and 7500kg with a trailer over 750kg, and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer over 750kg – combined weight not more than 12000kg

21*,**

*Age 18 if combination weight is under 7500kg.

**If you passed your test for category B or B automatic before 1 January 1997 your licence will already show entitlement to C1, C1E (8.25 tonnes), D1 and D1E (not for hire or reward).

Large goods vehicles with or without trailers

Categories

Description

Minimum age

C

Vehicles over 3500kg with a trailer up to 750kg, and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer up to 750kg

21*

C+E

Vehicles over 3500kg, and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer over 750kg

21*

*You can drive at age 17 if a member of the armed services.

**You can drive at 18 if one of the following apply:

  • you passed your driving test and Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) Initial Qualification
  • you are learning to drive or taking a driving test for this category or Driver CPC Initial Qualification
  • you are taking a national vocational training course to get a Driver CPC Initial Qualification
  • you had your driving licence before 10 September 2009, you must take the CPC periodic training within five years of this date

Minibuses with or without trailers

Category

Description

Minimum ages

D1

Vehicles with no more than 16 passenger seats in addition to the driver and with a maximum length not exceeding 8 meters with a trailer up to 750kg

21*,**,***,****

D1+E

Vehicles with no more than 16 passenger seats in addition to the driver and with a maximum length not exceeding 8 meters with a trailer over 750kg, provided that the MAM of the combination thus formed does not exceed 12000kg, and the MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen mass of the towing vehicle

21*,**,***,****

*New category description

**You can drive at 17 if member of armed forces.

*** You can drive these vehicles at age 18 if one of the following apply:

1) You are learning to drive or taking a PCV test or Driver CPC initial qualification

2) Having passed a PCV driving test and Driver CPC initial qualification, you can drive under any of the following conditions:

  • driving on a regular service where the route doesn’t exceed 50 km
  • not engaged in the carriage of passengers
  • driving a vehicle of a class included in sub-category D1

3) Having passed a PCV test before 10 September 2008 and driving under a bus operator's licence, or minibus permit, or community bus permit and any of the following conditions:

  • driving on a regular service where the route doesn't exceed 50 km
  • not engaged in the carriage of passengers
  • driving a vehicle of a class included in sub-category D1

****Age 20 after passing a PCV driving test and Driver CPC initial qualification.

Buses with or without trailers

Category

Description

Minimum age

D

Any bus designed and constructed for the carriage of more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer up to 750kg

24*,**,***,****,*****

D+E

Any bus designed and constructed for the carriage of more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer over 750kg

24*,**,***,****,*****

*New Minimum age

**New category description

***You can drive at 17 if member of armed forces.

****You can drive these vehicles at age 18 if one of the following apply:

1) You are learning to drive or taking a PCV test or Driver CPC initial qualification

2) Having passed a PCV driving test and Driver CPC initial qualification, you can drive under any of the following conditions:

  • driving on a regular service where the route doesn’t exceed 50 km
  • not engaged in the carriage of passengers
  • driving a vehicle of a class included in sub-category D1

3) Having passed a PCV test before 10 September 2008 and driving under a bus operator's licence, or minibus permit, or community bus permit and any of the following conditions:

  • driving on a regular service where the route doesn't exceed 50 km
  • not engaged in the carriage of passengers
  • driving a vehicle of a class included in sub-category D1

*****Age 20 after passing a PCV driving test and Driver CPC initial qualification.

Other Categories

Category

Description

Minimum age

F

Agricultural tractors

17*

G

Road rollers

21**

H

Tracked vehicles

21***,****

K

Mowing machines or vehicles controlled by someone on foot

16

*At 16 you can drive tractors less than 2.45m wide. It must only pull trailers less than 2.45m wide with two wheels, or four wheels that are close-coupled.

**At 17 you can drive small roadrollers with metal or hard rollers. They must not be steam powered, weigh more than 11.69 tonnes or be made for carrying loads.

***You can drive at 17 if the maximum authorised mass of the tracked vehicle is not more than 3,500kg.

****You can drive at age 17 if a member of the armed services. You can drive at 18 if one of the following apply

  • you passed your driving test and Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) Initial Qualification
  • you are learning to drive or taking a driving test for this category or Driver CPC Initial Qualification
  • you are taking a national vocational training course to get a Driver CPC Initial Qualification
  • you had your driving licence before 10 September 2009, you must take the CPC periodic training within five years of this date.