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New trailer towing rules in effect from 16 December 2021

If you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997, you are now allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM).

The DVLA has said that it will update your driving licence record to show that you are allowed to tow trailers. You will have category BE added to your driving licence when you get a new photocard driving licence. You do not need to contact DVLA for this to happen: it will be done automatically. If you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997, you are not affected by the change as these licences were already authorised to tow trailers. There are also different rules for towing if you live in Northern Ireland.

We previously reported on the cancellation of trailer towing tests, which took effect on 20 September. The move came in response to the current shortage of HGV drivers, aiming to free up examiners' time so that they can oversee more testing in that area.

Under the previous rules depending on the year their licence was issued, drivers were restricted in the weight of a trailer they are permitted to tow. To tow anything larger it was necessary to have taken the additional test, but with these no longer being offered there was for a brief period no route to obtain a required licence.

To address this anomaly the government planned to change the rules to increase and standardise the weight of trailer that anyone can tow on a standard driver's licence. It had been announced that this change would take effect on 15 November, but it was instead made as of 16 December.

For further details, please see guidance from the Department for Transport.

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