New DVSA caravan driving law proposals may lead to ‘serious safety concerns’

RAC shares their guide to towing a caravan

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The DVSA has opened a consultation to update the regulations which would scrap extra tests for drivers who want to tow heavy trailers or caravans. The consultation is set to run until September 7 with any rules changes expected to come into effect shortly afterwards.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart said the reasons for introducing the test “still stand”.

He warns “people need proper training” and said safety issues “could be avoided” with better training.

He said: “If a test is no longer a requirement, this raises some serious safety concerns, especially at this busy holiday time.

“We are very concerned the decision will exacerbate an existing safety situation.

“Currently, as per DVSA’s own safety checks, up to one in six caravans they stopped had a serious safety issue, while four in ten 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.

“The DSA (Driving Standards Agency) had a clear safety reason for introducing the test in 1997, and these reasons are still valid.

“People need proper training to be able to drive an articulated vehicle, particularly when they are doing so for the first time.”

Caravan owners can be fined for driving too slowly [INSIGHT]
Caravan owners warned of ‘catastrophe’ by not checking towbars [COMMENT]
Caravan owners could be caught out by purchasing second-hand tow bars [ANALYSIS]

Currently, drivers who passed their driving test after 1 January 1997 can only drive a vehicle up to 3,500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM) towing a trailer of 750kg MAM.

More experienced motorists who learned how to drive before 1 January 1997 are granted extra rights and can tow up to 8,250kg MAM.

However, the updates could allow drivers to tow heavier weights without first learning how to handle it in a road environment.

IAM RoadSmart says the tests are designed to help holidaymakers deal with some of the issues they will encounter while towing.

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