The Law

Are you towing within the law?

If you tow trailers, caravans, boats, horse trailers, generators, cars, plant machinery etc and you do NOT have the correct entitlement (Category B+E) to tow what you are towing on your licence, you are running the risk of:

  • 3 points for ‘no category’
  • Up to 6 points for ‘no insurance’
  • A fine up to £2000

As an employer, employing an individual that tows for business purposes, that is doing so illegally, you can also be held liable for their actions you can be:

  • Issued with a fine
  • Criminally charged with Negligence

With the possibility of points, fines, etc, can you really afford NOT to take the test?

Depending on when you passed your Car Driving Test, depends on what you can tow already – if any. Below gives you a guide as to what restrictions are involved

Car licences issued from 19 January 2013
From 19 January 2013, drivers passing a category B (car and small vehicle) test can tow:

  • Small trailers weighing no more than 750kg
  • A trailer over 750kg as long as the combined weight of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes) Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM)

If you want to tow a trailer weighing more than 750kg, when the combined weight of the towing vehicle and trailer is more than 3,500kg, you’ll have to pass a further test and get B+E entitlement on your licence.

You’ll then be able to tow trailers up to 3,500kg.

Car licences held from 1 January 1997
If you passed your driving test after 1 January 1997 and have an ordinary category B (car) licence, you can:

  • drive a vehicle up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM
  • tow a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg

For anything heavier you need to take a category B+E driving test.

Car licences held before 1 January 1997
If you passed your car test before 1 January 1997 you’re generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg MAM.

This is the weight of a vehicle or trailer including the maximum load that can be carried safely when it’s being used on the road.

Note – the maximum length a trailer can be towed by a car or van under 3500kg (cat B on your licence) is 7m long, excluding the A frame. For more information, visit

DID YOU KNOW… you can legally tow a trailer over 750kg MAM on a normal car licence as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3500kg. (MAM is the limit on how much the vehicle/trailer can weigh when it’s loaded, also known as Gross Vehicle Weight) and this is where most people go wrong… Some people believe you can to a heavier trailer as long as the total load does not add up to 3500kg – WRONG! It is the LOADED weight of the car and the trailer’s CAPACITY.

For example:

A Freelander (kerb weight 1640KG, MAM 2080KG) attached to an Ifor Williams HB401 horse trailer (kerb weight 770kg, MAM 1600KG)

The total MAM of the combination is 3680kg – over the limit!

Even though the unladen weight of the combination is 2410kg, and if we give the horse an average weight of 800kg, the total load is 3210kg. Yes the total load is less than 3500kg, but the total MAM is over 3500kg meaning not only are you driving outside the category on your licence, you are also uninsured!

Lets take another combination:

Ford Focus TDCi (kerb weight 1368kg, MAM 1900kg), attached to a Brian James C4 car transporter (kerb weight 607kg, MAM 2000kg). Even without putting a car on the transporter your MAM is already 3900kg – over the limit!

Every month I get several phone calls from people who thought they were ok to tow – but have fallen foul of the law! Why take the chance