The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency has announced that drivers who passed their car test after 1 January 1997 will no longer have to sit a test in order to tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM) — the weight normally required when towing two horses in a trailer.

Tests for the category B + E (car + trailer) category will cease on 20 September 2021 and the new changes will come into effect in the autumn. The exact date has not yet been confirmed.

The changes are the result of a recent government consultation and will enable more lorry tests to be offered instead, helping to combat the shortage of lorry drivers in the UK.

When the law changes, it means horse owners and riders who passed their car driving test after 1 January 1997 will no longer have to pass a separate trailer test in order to tow their horses on the road.

Currently, only drivers who passed their car tests before this date can tow a trailer weighing over 750kg. Anyone who passed their test after this date has had to pass a trailer test to add the category B + E to their licence.

In a statement, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) confirmed that it will update driving licence records with the new allowances automatically and category BE will be added to driving licences when a new photocard driving licence is ordered.

Tests booked for 20 September 2021 onwards will be automatically cancelled and refunded. Those who have already taken a trailer test will not receive a refund and there is no compensation for any training that has already been paid for.

The DVLA statement added that drivers must continue to follow the current rules about what you are allowed to tow based on the date you passed the car driving test. Anyone found towing anything heavier before the law changes in the autumn can be fined up to £1,000.

The statement also said “it’s best to take training from a driving instructor if you want to start driving a car and trailer”.

Read the full guidance from the DVLA here.

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