New caravan law changes could cause ‘further confusion’ and lead to road safety issues

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Drivers are now allowed to tow trailers and caravans without the need for additional testing or training. The driving law change means that otorists can tow caravans or trailers up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM).

The DVLA will update driving licence records to show that motorists can now tow trailers, with the addition of the BE category.

This will be done automatically when drivers reapply for a new photocard driving licence.

This rule change was supposed to take place on November 15, but was delayed just a few days before it was set to come into force.

Following the delay, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) stated the change would take place in “autumn 2021”.

In a tweet, they announced: “All car drivers who have passed their driving test since January 1, 1997, can tow a trailer up to 3,500kg in weight from today (Thursday, December 16) without the need for a test. 

“Car drivers who passed their test before January 1997 will already have this category on their licence.

“DVSA stopped doing car and trailer tests in September, allowing us to increase HGV driving tests to help tackle the lorry driver shortage.”

In response to the original changes, many were concerned that it could lead to an increase in road accidents.

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Given the removal of the tests, it is feared that younger, more inexperienced drivers could drive dangerously with an even larger load attached to their car.

Jonathan White, Legal and Compliance Director at National Accident Helpline, criticised the move, saying more should have been done in the time after the delay.

He said: “After delaying the introduction of changes to towing laws we were hoping to see steps taken to mitigate the risks associated with the freedom to tow a caravan or trailer without taking an additional test.

“Instead, it seems that the advice could cause further confusion, with drivers advised to take additional training but not having the option of then taking a test.

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