Car and trailer driving tests to be scrapped

Qualifications for trailers and caravans are to be ditched the government has confirmed.

The B+E test / requirement for drivers who qualified after January 1st 1997 will be dropped as the DVSA has sought ways to free up examiners across the country to help with HGV tests and the shortage of drivers in the UK.

The requirement will be dropped in the autumn with an exact date yet to be announced, the DVSA has cancelled all B+E driving tests as of 21st Sept onwards.

At the moment anyone who qualified after January 1st 1997 can driver a vehicle up to 3,500kg MAM (maximum authorised mass) towing a trailer or a caravan of up to 750kg (MAM). A driver can also tow a heavier trailer if the total MAM of the trailer and car do not exceed 3,500kg.

For anything heavier a B+E qualification is needed. For drivers who qualified before 1997, a MAM of 8,250kg is allowed.
Supply chains in the UK are being severely hit by a lack of qualified HGV drivers and the DVSA hopes these alterations will help free up around 50,000 HGV test appointments a year.

Alongside these changes to B+E are some simplifications to the HGV test with a single text being introduced for rigid and articulated vehicles and a removal of reversing and trailer coupling exercises. Some have called for a caution as this may harm road safety, after all these tests / exercises were introduced to improve road safety originally.

Neil Greig, of IAM Roadsmart said

“We are very concerned the decision will exacerbate an existing safety situation as currently, as per DVSA’s own safety checks, up to one in six caravans they stopped had a serious safety issue, while four in 10 small trailers were also found with serious safety issues. Many of these could have been avoided by better training and awareness of towing safety best practice.”