Those who had “grandfather rights” to drive larger vehicles including horseboxes may not still be able to do so legally after they turn 70. H&H finds out what to be aware of, and what action to take
DRIVERS are warned not to be caught out by the small print when renewing their licences or risk serious consequences.
Those who passed their test before 1 January 1997 hold “grandfather rights”, so they may also drive some minibuses and vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes, and tow trailers.
All drivers have to renew their licence when they reach the age of 70, and every three years from then on, but this does not automatically include all the previously held categories on the licence.
The category for cars towing trailers (B+E) is renewed automatically but the C1 (small lorries up to 7.5 tonnes) and minibuses, not for hire or reward (D1), are not.
This puts people at risk of unwittingly breaking the law when driving horseboxes, in the same way as they have legally done for years.
Penalties for driving otherwise in accordance with a licence can include a fine of up to £1,000, disqualification and three to six penalty points.
“I just happened to see it in the [news]papers, by pure chance,” one driver, aged 78, told H&H.
“I thought I’ll go and check my licence – lo and behold, on the back in very small writing there were some ‘hieroglyphics’ that didn’t mean anything at all to us, so I thought I’d better check on this, and [the categories] have been removed.”
He added he received no warning this would happen when he renewed his licence, nor did his wife, who is five years his junior.
“We have racked our brains and cannot remember seeing anything like that. To withdraw these licence [categories] without telling you – it could have been catastrophic financially,” he said, explaining that this is not just fines, but the question of insurance viability should they have had an accident.
He is keen to raise awareness to others in the equestrian world, who may also be unknowingly driving with the incorrect licence, following the plus-70 renewal.
The process to retain all parts of the licence does not require another test – it involves filling in a form that can be obtained via the Government website or Post Office, plus a medical exam, but it must be done to keep driving legally.
H&H asked the DVLA to clarify the situation and whether drivers are always notified about the requirements for how they should go about applying to retain all previously held categories.
The DVLA did not respond to the last point, but did offer clarity on the rules.
“All drivers have to renew their entitlement to drive at age 70 and every three years after this,” a DVLA spokesman told H&H.
“Those drivers wanting to drive a category C1 and D1 (101) will need to complete a D2 application form. This must be accompanied by a D4 medical examination report, which has been completed by a doctor, as entitlement to drive these vehicles won’t automatically renew.
“If a driver cannot get a D4 medical examination at this time [owing to the suspension of these for non-commercial drivers during the pandemic], they can still renew their ordinary driving licence (online) and apply separately to renew their entitlement to drive these larger vehicles later.
“Drivers will be sent a reminder through the post three months before their licence is due to expire with all of the above information included.
“Visit gov.uk for more information about renewing a driving licence at age 70.”
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