Caravan owners warned of fines and licence points after major driving law changes

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This is the first summer since major driving law changes took place, meaning more people could town caravans without additional training. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) unveiled the law changes in December 2021, having been delayed since that summer.

The rules mean motorists who passed their driving tests from January 1997 can now tow heavier trailers, up to 3,500kg MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass)

Under previously rules, drivers needed to pass an additional driving test to be able to drive larger vehicles and tow trailers.

The DVLA also said it would update any driving licence records to show they are allowed to tow trailers.

This includes the BE category, which will be included when people apply for a new photocard licence.

Clare Egan, head of motor at Admiral Insurance, warned drivers to ensure they are confident when driving heavier trailers.

She said: “With many of us worried about the recent travel chaos, staycations remain a popular choice for holidaymakers this summer.  

“We’re expecting to see many people hitting the roads with a caravan in tow. 

“For some, this could be their first-time driving with a caravan, so there are a lot of things they need to bear in mind for the benefit of all road users. 

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“It’s important to make sure motorists feel confident behind the wheel, are clued up on towing regulations and have the right insurance to protect both the car and caravan.  

“Before setting off on their journey, motorists will need to double check that their driving licence covers them to tow and they will need to make sure that the vehicle used to pull the trailer is up for the job, so they can have a safe and enjoyable trip.  

Almost half of road accident claims involving caravans take place in the summer months between June and August.

This is not completely unexpected with more holidaymakers on the roads.

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The number of accidents reaches a peak in August.

More than 20 percent of accident claims where there’s a caravan involved take place this month.

Because of this, Admiral is warning drivers to check the weight of their vehicles before setting off.

Clare Egan continued, saying: “In late 2021, the driving laws changed which means anyone with a full driving licence can drive tow a caravan without any additional qualifications, but only if the maximum authorised mass (MAM) of the towing vehicle and caravan doesn’t exceed 3,500kg. 

“Drivers still need to check the weight of their vehicles as not all caravans fall into this category.  

“Remember, you could be fined up to £1,000 and get three penalty points for failing to use suitable towing mirrors which would put a real dampener on your holiday.

“So make sure you’re fully prepared before you set off.” 

The law changes were made after a public consultation found that 64.9 percent of respondents said they agreed or strongly agreed with allowing car drivers to tow a tailor without an additional test.

However, the consultation found over 5,000 respondents believed drivers would still want some training before towing a trailer, even if this was not mandatory.

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