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A few weeks back we published a blog post talking about individuals seeking trailer training only after having learned from police officials that they did not possess the proper licence for their trailer/tow vehicle combinations. The point of that post was to illustrate how necessary it is to know the law, as it applies to trailers, so that you can make sure you are in compliance. Now we want to take it one-step further. We will do so by way of a recent news story involving a man who knew he did not have a proper trailer licence yet chose to drive anyway.

The Portadown Times reported late last week on a 28-year-old local man who was charged and fined after being caught driving without a proper licence. Apparently, he was towing a trailer as he approached a police checkpoint. The combination of his tow vehicle and trailer required he have a trailer licence, which he did not possess, so he turned the vehicle around and headed back in the opposite direction.

Police caught up with the man and charged him with driving without a proper licence, not properly displaying ‘R’ plates, and driving with a defective light. His fines and charges added up to £240; he also received three points on his licence. The man’s lawyer insisted it was an honest a mistake resulting from the use of his wife’s car rather than his own.

Knowing the Law, Obey the Law

It is one thing to ignorantly tow a trailer without a proper licence. Many people incorrectly assume that since utility trailers are nowhere near the size and weight of caravans that they are legal to tow with a car licence. That is understandable. However, knowingly violating the law is an entirely different matter.

The laws covering trailer towing have been implemented for a reason. They are intended to protect both drivers and property from accidents caused by inexperienced drivers. Unfortunately, many drivers do not understand how difficult towing a trailer can be until they actually do it. Trailers add weight, increase braking times, reduce handling, and cause additional stress and problems in bad weather. In addition, the heavier the trailer, the more dangerous things can be.

The law currently allows trailer and tow vehicle combinations of up to 3.5 tonnes without the need for special trailer licence. Anything above that requires a B+E licence, at minimum. There are also some additional restrictions pertaining to certain kinds of trailers exceeding certain weight limits. The GOV.UK website has all the details if you are interested.

Here at the HGV Training Centre, we offer individual trailer training classes along with our commercial driver training programmes. If you need a B+E trailer licence for your trailer and tow vehicle combination, we can provide the training you need to pass the practical skills test. We cover all the essential skills including safe highway driving, manoeuvring, and backing, vehicle inspections and properly hooking and unhooking a trailer.

Sources:

Portadown Times – https://www.portadowntimes.co.uk/news/did-not-have-proper-licence-to-tow-trailer-1-6403811

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