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B+E trailer tests


TomHoward
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B+E trailer rules are changing - tests are cancelled from 20th Sept 2021 and anyone with a post-97 licence looks like they will be granted B+E automatically without a test.

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-rules-for-towing-a-trailer-or-caravan-with-a-car-from-autumn-2021

 

Useful for anyone planning to take it or expand - or staffing at least as to who has to drive which van.

 

Not good news for anyone who gives B+E training as a profession but good for anyone who fits towbars..

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Where I live, prime caravan idiot territory, I am not so sure this is good news. I have worked with guys who proved lethal towing any weight of trailer and as for reversing them then no chance.

 

Anything that makes people stop and think before haring off down the motorway leading to Gospel Pass is a good idea in my book.

 

Apparently there are rumours that government are consulting on making HGV tests simpler and fast tracked because of the driver shortage. One idea is to remove coupling and uncoupling trailers and reversing safely from the test. Only a rumour but puts the B&E changes into context and is very worrying.

Edited by kerry davies
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Where I live, prime caravan idiot territory, I am not so sure this is good news. I have worked with guys who proved lethal towing any weight of trailer and as for reversing them then no chance.

 

Anything that makes people stop and think before haring off down the motorway leading to Gospel Pass is a good idea in my book.

My pet hate for caravans was Kirkstone Pass. We used to camp in a site at the southern end and it was not uncommon to find half a dozen making their way up with a long snake of frustration following them.

 

I've been driving since 1973 and it came as a big surprise some 15 years ago when a colleague started talking about the towing test and the then current regs. At the time I had access to a trailer of 1500Kg MAM which I towed, quite lightly loaded, on a vehicle of 1100KG max... something he wasn't and I presume still isn't allowed to do.

 

Do I think the towing test is a good idea? Too right I do, I was lucky to have had some underage driving experience on a farm which gave me a head start for towing on the road. Sadly I see too many towers who don't have a clue how to maneuver a trailer. For that matter I also see far too many people who can't reverse a car, and that's without a without a trailer.

 

 

My first knowledge of this latest change was a temporary halt on B+E requirement to allow more HGV training/testing in the current crisis but reading the .GOV link it seems to be permanent... until there are too many accidents at least.

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Apparently there are rumours that government are consulting on making HGV tests simpler and fast tracked because of the driver shortage. One idea is to remove coupling and uncoupling trailers and reversing safely from the test. Only a rumour but puts the B&E changes into context and is very worrying.

I don’t think it is a rumour, I think it’s also part of the change - coupling / uncoupling to be verified by “a third party” rather than an examiner (?) and one test for rigid & arctic rather than progression I believe

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Not good news for anybody in my view. But the Tories have increasing 'form' in this area. Any government which permits vehicles to be used on the public road without an annual visit to a testing station - as this mob have with classics - is capable of anything. (The Vintage Vehicle sector did not ask for it and advised against it but hey that's what you get these days.) The consultation referred to is here by the way. However having seen the way many LGVs are driven I don't see it making much difference in the long run - sadly.

 

The biggest elephant in the room with all this has always been the granting of 'grandfather rights' to existing licence holders when new tests are introduced. It is quite ludicrous that I can't climb into the cab of a modern artic which miss J8 who did the LGV training says is a piece of cake but I can into a pre 1960 Scammell Pioneer and set off down the road.

Edited by Junior8
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I don't know - for somebody my age to NOT have the minibus category is rare - but lost my licence in the late 90s for a year for an unfixed medical condition. After a year, they gave it me back - minus the minibus category, so you can lose the 'grandfather' rights. I was allowed to keep the motorbike category that I passed in 1977, on a 125cc - so could legally buy and insure a supervise. That has to be madness!
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OR trailers become a separate taxable and insurable entity.

 

That seems less likely to me, the caravan lobby would be up in arms. Plus there are plenty of industrial users (construction / plant hire for example) who would be disproportionately affected.

 

Licensing the driver seems to make much more sense to me than the trailers themselves.

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Going back many years it was the towing vehicle which attracted the additional expense but only for goods vehicles.

 

Private & Light Goods (PLG) used to be at least 5 categories: Private for which the excise license was about £50 and Goods Carrying Vehicle; between 1000KG and a higher (which I'll hazard a guess at 3500KG) ULW being £110 excise license or with towing £180. Under 1000KG ULW being something like £80 & £150. I think these figures are about correct.

 

We tried hard to tax as showmans at £20 but the hoops were far too difficult.

 

 

In those days our typical price for a village fete PA system was £10 - £20 so we taxed the 1066KG van without towing and towed the control booth (Slightly converted caravan) on a car without any goods on board, other than 10 car batteries.

 

As tow bars and the associated electrics are now included in the MOT test it wouldn't be too difficult to return to the above system.

Edited by sunray
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OR trailers become a separate taxable and insurable entity.

 

That seems less likely to me, the caravan lobby would be up in arms. Plus there are plenty of industrial users (construction / plant hire for example) who would be disproportionately affected.

 

Licensing the driver seems to make much more sense to me than the trailers themselves.

However... I feel trailers should be MOT tested and listed on an insurance somewhere. Far too many are towed in a really bad state of repair and without any insurance, not all vehicle insurances cover it.

 

As I understand it newly built trailers have to go through some sort of testing/approval (as do tow bars) which at least controls the design/construction before they go on the road.

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However... I feel trailers should be MOT tested and listed on an insurance somewhere. Far too many are towed in a really bad state of repair and without any insurance, not all vehicle insurances cover it.

 

You could extend the same argument to roof racks and bike holders. Where does it stop?

 

It'd be a huge financial burden for a lot of firms. I've got six trailers, a generator company I know have literally dozens.

 

Since trailers have no engine and much less in the way of moving parts, it's far easier for a layperson to assess the condition.

 

The solution for the small minority of idiots with janky home-built trailers is surely spot checks and enforcement. Most of them probably wouldn't submit their trailers for tests anyway.

 

As I understand it newly built trailers have to go through some sort of testing/approval (as do tow bars) which at least controls the design/construction before they go on the road.

 

Yes, I don't think you're allowed to just build a trailer yourself any more. (And it rules out some of the exciting trailers you'd see where someone took a van that had been written-off in a front end collision, and simply welded an A-frame onto the chassis)

 

There's an EU type approval, not sure if something else exists for UK only. I suppose the way around it is simply to claim that you built the trailer before the regulations took effect as all older trailers were "grandfathered".

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It really isn't as simple as people seem to think. Trailers under 3500 Kg must by law be roadworthy and inspected by the owner before each use. This was brought home to me due to a case where Person A had loaned a trailer to Person B who side swiped a third party causing a lot of damage after something failed on the trailer. The insurers went after Person A who was found to be liable due to failure to maintain and check the trailer. People wouldn't be so sanguine after taking a casual look at many of the boat trailers parked up around here - or had one basically disintegrate next to them while innocently walking along the pavement just being missed by the wheel as it flew past.

 

I agree with Sunray - it's as important to test the trailer as the towing vehicle.

 

 

 

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Dont worry theirs already murmurings in whitehall about bringing in both registration and an mot type test for the same category of trailers that they've removed the license restrictions on, the estimated cost to us plebs is thought to be around £76 million .Read all about it at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/trailer-safety-report
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It really isn't as simple as people seem to think. Trailers under 3500 Kg must by law be roadworthy and inspected by the owner before each use. This was brought home to me due to a case where Person A had loaned a trailer to Person B who side swiped a third party causing a lot of damage after something failed on the trailer. The insurers went after Person A who was found to be liable due to failure to maintain and check the trailer. People wouldn't be so sanguine after taking a casual look at many of the boat trailers parked up around here - or had one basically disintegrate next to them while innocently walking along the pavement just being missed by the wheel as it flew past.

 

I agree with Sunray - it's as important to test the trailer as the towing vehicle.

 

 

 

The only trailer I currently own has a 12m pneumatic telescopic mast fitted which hasn't been on the road for about 5 years which also means it hasn't been inspected for the same time and as such if it was to be taken out without a service/inspection it could have all sorts of problems.

 

Of course I wouldn't take such a risk like that but I've seen too many that do and like so many other things it can give a bad name to the genuine towers.

 

 

A recent example being a multi kayak carrier made with Dexion was stopped, initially because it had a wheel missing.

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