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New rules for towing a trailer or caravan with a car from Autumn 2021

There will be new rules about towing a trailer or caravan with a car later in 2021. Find out how the changes affect you.
The rules on what you can tow are different depending on when you passed your car driving test.
The rules will change later in 2021. The new rules will still depend on when you originally passed your car driving test.
There are different rules for towing if you live in Northern Ireland.
What you’re currently allowed to tow
Licences issued before 1 January 1997
You will not be affected by the changes if you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997.
You’re usually allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM). View your driving licence information to check.
You’re also allowed to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM.
MAM is the limit on how much the vehicle can weigh when it’s loaded.
Licences issued from 1 January 1997 to 18 January 2013
If you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997 to 18 January 2013, you can currently drive either of the following:
• 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 it is no more than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle (up to 3,500kg in total)
You’ve had to pass a car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier. Licenses issued from 19 January 2013
If you passed your car driving test from 19 January 2013, you can currently drive either of the following:
• 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
You’ve had to pass a car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier. What will change later in 2021
If you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997, you’ll be allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg MAM when the law changes.
DVLA will update your driving licence record to show that you’re allowed to tow trailers. You’ll get category BE added to your driving licence when you get a new photocard driving licence.
You do not need to contact DVLA for this to happen. It will be done automatically.
The date the law will change has not yet been confirmed. Sign up for email alerts to be told when the law changes.
Car and trailer driving tests stopping from 20 September 2021
Car and trailer driving tests are stopping ahead of the law changing. You can no longer book or take a car and trailer driving test from 20 September 2021.
What you can do until the law changes
Until the law changes later in autumn 2021, you must continue to follow the current rules about what you’re allowed to tow based on when you passed your car driving test.
You can be fined up to £1,000 if you tow anything heavier before the law changes later in autumn 2021.
You’re only allowed to tow anything heavier if you’re being supervised. When you’re being supervised, you must:
• display L plates to the front of the car and the rear of the trailer
• be accompanied by a person who’s at least 21 years old and has had category BE on their driving licence for at least 3 years.
Driving a car and trailer for the first time
It’s best to take training from a driving instructor if you want to start driving a car and trailer.
The ‘National standard for driving cars and light vans’ tells you about the skills, knowledge and understanding you need to tow a trailer or caravan.
You can also read about:
• why learning to tow is important
• safety checks you should do when you’re towing a trailer or caravan with a car If you’d booked a car and trailer driving test
Tests before 20 September 2021
Your car and trailer driving test will go ahead as planned. You can cancel your appointment if you no longer want to take the test. If your driving instructor booked your test for you, talk to them about cancelling it.
If your test is:
• up to and including Tuesday 14 September 2021, you’ll need to contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) after you’ve cancelled your test to get a refund
• from Wednesday 15 September to Sunday 19 September 2021, you’ll automatically get a full refund when you cancel your test
DVSA customer services
customerservices@dvsa.gov.uk
Tests from 20 September 2021
Your car and trailer driving test will not go ahead if it was due to take place on or after 20 September 2021.
If you booked the test yourself, DVSA will automatically cancel it for you. You’ll get a full refund within 5 working days.
If your driving instructor booked your test for you, talk to them about what happens next.
You cannot get a refund or compensation for any training that you’ve taken to help you prepare to take the test.
If you had previously passed a car and trailer driving test
You cannot get a refund or compensation for any training that you took to help you prepare to take the test.
You cannot get a refund for the test you took.
Published 10 September 2021


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