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Thread: Trailer towing:- B and B+E licence rules explained

  1. #1
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    Default Trailer towing:- B and B+E licence rules explained

    This site already has some good stickies at the top of this forum but I hope this may still assist

    Trailer towing:- B and B+E licence rules explained

    I have extensive knowledge on this issue and already have a trailer towing clinic HERE as well as many other sites.
    I use the above to demonstrate that I have not joined this site to spam etc but simply to help others understand the rules which the Govt sites do not seem to explain very well.

    Trailer MAM means the maximum weight the trailer can be when fully loaded (weight of empty trailer plus weight of load)

    Trailers over 3500 kgs plated MAM weight come under different rules which is why all the trailers towed by B class vehicles , those of 3.5 tonnes and under, are not plated at more than 3500 kgs or 3.5 tonnes MAM
    Trailers without plates use the total of the TYRE LOAD RATINGS to determine the MAM.
    A rating of 66 on 4 tyres would give a MAM of 1200 kgs.

    Vehicles in the B licence category will have the following information on a plate in the vehicle, in the handbook or on the V5 form.
    Information can also be found on many internet vehicle specification sites.
    Unladen or Kerb weight - although there is a slight difference in the two it is not that much
    GVW - the max weight the vehicle can weigh when fully loaded
    GTW - the max weight the vehicle and trailer can ACTUALLY weigh when added together. This does not refer to the total of the vehicle GWV and trailer MAM weights.
    Towing capacity - this is the ACTUAL weight that can be towed by the vehicle - it does not mean the trailer MAM weight.
    None of the above weights must be exceeded

    Some vehicles have a GVW, a towing capacity and a GTW. In such a case the GTW takes priority over the GVW and towing capacity when added together

    FOR B+E LICENCES
    Where a towing capacity is listed then this would be a legal example:-
    CAR has GVW of 2000 and a towing capacity of 1800
    TRAILER has a MAM of 3500 and an unladen weight of 1000
    The trailer can be loaded with a maximum weight of 800
    Where there is not a towing capacity listed then the GTW is used
    GTW minus the GVW does not give the towing capacity unless the vehicle is fully laden

    EXAMPLE: -
    VAN has GVW of 3500 and GTW of 6000
    TRAILER has MAM of 3500
    The van and trailer can weigh 3000 each and be legal

    FOR B LICENCES
    The Gov sites are not that good at explaining this so I have managed to find a simple way of determining whether a driver can tow something on a B only licence -
    To tow over 750 kgs with a B licence you need to say NO to the following:-
    Is the plated MAM of the trailer more than the UNLADEN/KERB/EMPTY weight of the towing vehicle?
    Does the GVW of the towing vehicle plus the plated MAM of the trailer add up to more than 3500 kgs?
    Is the ACTUAL weight of the empty trailer and its load more than the listed towing capacity?

    Example of legally towing over 750 kgs with a B licence - made up figures but not that far from what can be found....

    Towing vehicle -
    Unladen/empty/kerb = 1500
    GVW = 2000
    Towing capacity = 1800
    Trailer -
    Unladen/empty = 800
    MAM = 1500 (Perhaps originally a 2000 MAM but downplated by manufacturer so it conforms to B licence towing)
    Load trailer with 700 max

    Reasons it is legal for towing on a B licence -
    The 1500 MAM of the trailer is not more than the 1500 unladen/empty weight of the towing vehicle
    The 2000 GVW of the towing vehicle plus the 1500 MAM of the trailer is not more than 3500
    The towing capacity/actual weight being towed does not exceed 1800

    SUPERVISING A B+E LEARNER
    In April 2010 new rules were introduced for those supervising certain learner drivers but they only affected those supervising VOCATIONAL categories such as C1 C1+E D1 & D1+E where the supervising driver had those categories given to them for free when they passed a pre 1997 car test.
    They do not affect those with a pre 1997 B+E licence who wish to supervise a B+E learner.
    The usual rules apply when a learner is driving -
    The supervising driver must be aged over 21
    The supervising driver must have held a B+E licence for at least 3 years
    L plates must be fitted to the front of the vehicle and the rear of the trailer
    Correct insurance for a B+E learner

    Caravan weights work on a slightly different system as they take into account the recommended (not legal) 85% towing rule

    I hope this helps those who are unsure of the rules

  2. #2
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    The B only licence category DOES allow you to tow trailers BUT there are weight restrictions.

    RULE 1 - The gross plated weight of the trailer (MAM) cannot exceed the vehicle kerbweight.

    RULE 2 - Also, the sum of the vehicle gross plated weight (GVW) and the trailer gross plated weight (MAM) cannot exceed 3500kg.

    Examples:-

    Vehicle 1200kg kerbweight, 1700kg gross plated weight (GVW) = maximum trailer gross plated weight (MAM) 1200kg SEE RULE 1

    Vehicle 1500kg kerbweight, 2000kg gross plated weight (GVW) = maximum trailer gross plated weight (MAM) 1500kg SEE RULES 1 & 2

    Vehicle 1800kg kerbweight, 2300kg gross plated weight (GVW) = maximum trailer gross plated weight (MAM) 1200kg SEE RULE 2
    The weight which can be loaded on the trailer is the trailer gross plated weight (MAM) minus the trailer unladen weight
    Trailer gross plated weight (MAM) 1500 with unladen weight 900 = a maximum load of 600
    The listed maximum towing capacity for a vehicle must not be exceeded - that is actual weight not plated MAM weight

    Some single horse trailers (there are others) which can be used for B licence towing and the manufacturers are still in business so they can be contacted to downplate the trailer MAM
    That is usually free or at a minimal cost

    BATESON LIGHT HORSE TRAILER
    CHEVAL LIGHT HORSE TRAILER
    IFOR LIGHT HORSE TRAILER

  3. #3
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    All B licence holders have a B+E provisional on the paper part of their licence
    That means they can tow a B+E combination either loaded or empty and on a motorway providing they adhere to these rules:-
    Supervising driver must be age 21+ and held B+E for 3+ years
    L plates on front of vehicle and rear of trailer
    Correct insurance for B+E learner - check with current insurer

    The B+E test
    No medical or theory test required
    Read a number plate from a certain distance
    VIDEO - Show Me Tell Me Questions - usually 5
    The next three can be in any order:-
    VIDEO - Reversing Exercise (old measurements) - done in test centre grounds if test conducted from practical test centre - some tests are now being done from training school grounds
    VIDEO - Uncouple/couple up - done in test centre grounds if test conducted from practical test centre - some tests are now being done from training school grounds
    One hour road drive - includes the independant drive and is done virtually the same as the basic car test

    DISCLAIMER - I have no connection to any companies which may be featured in those videos

  4. #4
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    Please post with this info if you want me to answer a specific query - weights in kgs please

    LICENCE
    B or B+E

    VEHICLE
    Unladen/kerb =
    GVW =
    GTW =
    Towing capacity =

    TRAILER
    Unladen =
    MAM =

  5. #5
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    Very useful - except for us old peeps who have A+E licences!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris&scully View Post
    Very useful - except for us old peeps who have A+E licences!
    Those will now be B+E - there was a list somewhere on the internet which gave the old ones with the new equivalents next to them

  7. #7
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    So -

    A Motor car and light goods vehicle with up to 9 seats up to 3,500 kg MAM B
    A Goods vehicle with MAM between 3,500 and 7,500 kg C1
    A Goods vehicle with MAM between 3,500 and 7,500 kg and pulling a trailer, as long as the total weight of both vehicles is not more than 8,250 kg C1E (with restriction code 79 or 107)
    A Passenger carrying vehicle with between 9 and 17 seats (driving not for hire or reward) D1 (with restriction code 79 or 101)
    A Vehicles in Groups B, C, F, K, L, N below See

    where does the B + E feature?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris&scully View Post
    Very useful - except for us old peeps who have A+E licences!
    Don't the new photo licences have the correct listings on them?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clava View Post
    Don't the new photo licences have the correct listings on them?
    They do but many have not had the need to change from the old paper only licence

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROG. View Post
    They do but many have not had the need to change from the old paper only licence
    Oh, I thought it sensible (especially after being confused as to what I could drive )

    Thank you for your input on the forum, really useful to have you here
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