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Q: I passed my driving test in 1993 and am about to trade my trailer in for a lorry.

I was under the impression I could drive up to 3.5tonnes unladen weight with my current licence, but up to what laden weight may I drive?

At what point do the pre-1997 drivers have to take an HGV or equivalent test?
SK, Sunderland

According to Jon Phillips of the Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners (OHTO), drivers who passed their car driving tests pre-1997 have the entitlement to drive vehicles up to 7,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM).

This is the total weight of the vehicle, plus the maximum load it can carry safely. This includes horses, people, tack, fuel and equipment.

What about towing a trailer?

Those drivers who gained a driving licence pre-1997 can also tow a trailer where the total MAM does not exceed 8,250kg. To drive vehicles over 7,500kg, a further test would be required — category C (LGV over 7,500kg) or category C&E (articulated vehicle test).

What if I passed my test after 1997?

Drivers who have passed their car driving tests since 1997 are limited to driving vehicles up to 3.5tonnes MAM, with or without a trailer weighing no more than 750kg.

They may tow a trailer weighing more than 750kg, as long as the total MAM does not exceed 3,500kg and the fully loaded trailer does not weigh more than the towing vehicle.

An average-sized towing vehicle and horse trailer far exceeds this weight.

Are there any other restrictions?

Further test requirements include: category B&E (trailer test), category C1 (vehicles up to 7,500kg with or without a trailer up to 750kg), category C1+E (C1 with a trailer over 750kg as long as total MAM does not exceed 12,000kg), and category C and category C&E, as above. Age restrictions also apply.

If you are transporting horses in connection with any economic gain, you will need the relevant Certificate/Advanced Certificate in Equine Transport.

Information

The following link provides further information: www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/WhatCanYouDriveAndYourObligations/DG_180694

Organisation of Horsebox and Trailer Owners www.horsebox-rescue.co.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (8 April, ’10)

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