In December 2011, UK legislation changed regarding 3,500kg vehicles and towing trailers, bringing us in line with European legislation.
This meant that, from the 4th December 2011, if you tow a trailer and are moving goods for ‘hire & reward’ (i.e. payment), with a light commercial vehicle with a gross weight of 3,500kg (3.5 tons), you are required to hold an operator’s licence and comply with all the relative legislation.
How and what did a legislation change?
Before 2011, companies or individuals were able to tow a trailer behind a vehicle which had a gross weight less than 3,500kg (based on the trailer weighing less than 1,020kg/1 ton) with the vehicle running on a tachograph-only while towing.
Anybody towing for hire & reward now has to hold an operator’s licence; requiring someone in the organisation with a CPC, submitting the vehicle(s) and trailer(s) for regular safety checks and keeping detailed records of the vehicle usage and various other mandatory obligations.
This seemingly small change in legislation had a huge affect on hundreds of companies and individuals moving products, plant and equipment or cars around the country commercially by using 3,500kg vehicles and towing trailers.
Voluntary and personal driving with towing trailers
It’s important to note that this change in legislation: 3,500kg vehicles and towing trailers, is separate from any rules or regulations associated with driving voluntarily or for pleasure.
When driving voluntarily, if you passed your car driving text on or after 1st January 1997, you can drive a car or van up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM), whilst towing a trailer of up to 750kg (MAM).
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