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If you passed your car driving test on or after 1st January 1997 and you now want to tow a caravan or certain trailers, you may have to take a specific practical test.


Do I need a B+E Licence?
The driving license will show entitlement to drive vehicles in Category B - this is a vehicle with up to 8 passenger seats (Car to People Carrier) or a goods vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight (Transit van size).

Can this driver tow a trailer?
Yes, but the combined mass of the trailer and the towing vehicle must not exceed 3500kgs or if the towing vehicle has a Maximum Authorized Mass of 3500kgs the trailer must not be more than 750kgs - this is probably a small camping type trailer.

But our caravan/trailer weighs more than 750kg can we still tow it? 
Yes, but this is where you need to find the maximum towing capability of your vehicle and it's Unladen Weight (ULW) - the rules say that a trailer of more than 750kgs can be towed providing the trailers' maximum weight does not exceed the ULW of the towing vehicle and that the total combined vehicle and trailer doesn't exceed 3.5 tonnes. E.g. A Peugeot 405 estate has an unladen weight of 1210kgs and could legally tow a trailer up to 1210kgs gross weight (with the Gross Train Weight still being less than 3.5 tonne). The manual for the vehicle actually specifies maximum trailer weights and is probably the best reference for this type of combination.

If your combination goes over 3.5 tonnes the driver will need Category B+E as a minimum.

The DVLA publish a leaflet "Your Driving License Explained" - it says B+E is for "Vehicles not covered by category B" which is all it says and is open to some misinterpretation.

With B+E on your license, your vehicle and trailer can be over 3.5 tonnes. To work out how heavy you will need to find the manual or the Vehicle Identification Plate.

The plate or manual will state maximum weights for the
vehicle, individual axle weight and something called Gross Train Weight (GTW). (GTW is the total weight of the vehicle trailer and load - if they weigh your vehicle and it exceeds this you are overloaded and have committed an offence.)

Extract from VIN Plate
Vehicle  Identification Number

3500 KG GVW

5750Kg GTW
Front Axle 1650Kg
Rear Axle 2200Kg

This means we could tow a trailer weighing 2250kgs behind the van - but the driver must have category B+E on their Licence.

If the driver has only category B on their Licence they will need to take a test in a B+E combination if they need to drive this type of vehicle.

Do I have to take a theory test for

category B+E?
Fortunately no.

A Driver who passed a car driving test before 1st January 1997 - should have B+E on their license and could drive any of the above combinations and won't need another test!

CAUTION - You could need considerably more than a B+E driving test - if the trailer exceeds 1020kg ulw or the towing vehicle is over 3.5 tonnes and they are being used in connection with a business, you are likely to require a Goods Vehicle Operators Licence, the towing vehicle may require a Tachograph and the driver will have to observe the Drivers Hours Regulations. More details are available from your Local Traffic Area Network advertised under Driving in all BT Phone Books or



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