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A Guide To Trailer Licences

Guide To Trailer towing

Trailer licences allow your drivers to tow a variety of different loads with a range of vehicles. This can be beneficial for your business operation as trailers allow your drivers to easily transport your goods and services to drive your business forward. The types of vehicles and loads that your drivers can tow are dependent on a range of different factors, so we’ve put together this guide to help you understand everything you need to know about trailer licences.  

Do My Drivers Need A Trailer Licence?

There are many different factors which will determine whether your drivers require a trailer licence entitlement. This varies across the types of vehicles and loads that your drivers will be towing, in relation to the needs of your business. The trailer licence entitlement held by your drivers limit them to a specific weight of vehicle and maximum authorised weight (MAM). If your drivers possess the B, C1, C, D1 or D licence entitlement, they will be able to tow a trailer of up to 750kg. To tow a heavier trailer and load, they will need to undertake the relevant training and acquire the trailer licence entitlement. 

The MAM refers to the combined weight of the car and trailer, including the load being towed. However, it is recommended that your drivers do not tow more than 85% of the towing vehicle’s weight. The maximum towing weight can usually be found in the vehicle’s manual.

B+E Entitlement

(Car or Van and Trailer)

MAM of up to 7000kg

C1+E Entitlement

( Medium-Sized Vehicle and Trailer)

MAM of up to 12000kg

CE Licence

C+E Entitlement

( Light Goods Vehicle and Trailer)

MAM of up to 32000kg

D1+E Entitlement

( Minibus and Trailer)

MAM of up to 12000kg

D+E Entitlement

( Bus and Trailer)

Allows drivers to tow trailer over 750kg

Trailer Licences: Acquired Rights (Grandfather Rights)

If your drivers passed their driving test before the 1st January 1997, they will have automatically acquired the BE, C1, C1E, D1 and D1E licence categories. These are known as acquired rights or grandfather rights. This allows your drivers to tow a variety of different loads across a range of vehicles, up to a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of 8250kg.

If your drivers passed their driving test after the 1st of January 1997, they can:

  • Drive car or van up to 3,500kg towing a trailer up to 750kg.
  • Tow a trailer over 750kg, as long as the MAM of the vehicle and trailer is no more than 3500kg.

Should your employees be required to tow anything heavier, they will need to undertake training and pass the relevant test.  

If you or your drivers are unsure of their rights, you can check their driving licence information online.

B+E Car and Trailer Licences - 2013 Amendments

In addition to the acquired rights or grandfather rights above, there are some specific rules relating to the car and trailer licence (B+E entitlement) in particular. This is in relation to the size of trailer that the driver can tow with their vehicle. If your drivers’ licence shows their B+E entitlement is ‘valid from’:

  • before 19 January 2013, they can tow any size trailer.
  • on or after 19 January 2013, they can tow a trailer with a MAM of up to 3,500kg.
However, it is still recommended that drivers do not tow any more than 85% of their vehicles weight. 

What If My Drivers' Have The Relevant Trailer Entitlement?

If your drivers already have the relevant trailer licence entitlement for your business needs, they may still benefit from trailer training. The trailer training that we provide will teach your drivers to tow loads safely and responsibly. This training can help to build the confidence of your drivers, and protect your business from any potential risks. However, they will not be required to sit any practical tests at the end of the course as they already have the licence entitlement. Although they may still need to complete the relevant theory tests in some cases. 

What Can My Drivers Tow?

Trailer Categories
B+E Driving Licences
Category B - Van Trailer Licence
B+E Trailer Licence
B+E Trailer Van
Large Van B+E
C1 Licence Category
Category C1E
C1E Licence Large
D1 Driving Licence
D1E Licence Category
Category D Licence
Category DE Trailer Licence
Category C Licence
CE Trailer Licence

Trailer Licence Entitlements

If your drivers pass a trailer test in a larger vehicle, it is sometimes possible that they will automatically gain new licence categories in smaller vehicles or vehicles of equal size. For example, if your drivers already have categories B and C1 on their driving licence and pass the C1+E test, they will also gain the B+E category on their licence. However, there are some exemptions from this. As a guideline, the rules on upgrading are as follows:

  • lorry entitlements can upgrade bus entitlements.
  • bus entitlements can’t upgrade lorry entitlements.
  • both lorry and bus entitlements can upgrade car entitlements.

For more information on adding trailer categories to your drivers’ driving licences please visit gov.uk.

Thanks for taking the time to find out about the different types of trailer licence entitlements. Trailer towing can benefit your business in a variety of ways and can help you transport your goods and services efficiently. If you would like to find out more or are interested in one of our trailer training courses, please take the time to get in touch. 

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