The Changes to B+E: 28.10.2021


NASP are working closely with the National Trailer and Towing Association (NTTA) to develop an engaging and accessible training and assessment framework which we are asking DVSA and DfT to consider as a new accredited scheme. 

The aim of the NTTA/NASP scheme is to provide a training route that will not be costly and onerous for trainers to deliver (and their customers to undertake) and will result in recognised certification, and more importantly, help drivers develop safe towing skills


Q1. Is B+E still going to be shown on the driving licence?


A. B+E may still be shown on licences issued prior to the start of the new legislation but as an implied right of Category B. 


Q2. When are the changes coming into effect?

A. The DVSA has already ceased the operation of the B+E practical test. This currently means that anyone wishing to tow a combination greater than 3500 kg will have to display ‘L’ plates (‘D’ plates in Wales) and be accompanied by a person who is over 21 and held B+E (or higher +E category) for three years. The maximum mass of the combination of category B prime mover and trailer must not exceed 7000 kg. This is the law until the new legislation comes into effect. However, it is accepted that the B+E threshold is for a combination of 7500 kg, but a combination must not include a trailer that is heavier than the towing vehicle, therefore the 7500 kg combination should not be encouraged. Changes will be implemented from November 15th 2021. 

Q3. Does this mean that there will be no test for B+E?


A. The DVSA stopped all B+E tests on the 20th September. The Secretary of State for Transport is encouraging professional training in towing to continue regardless in order to enhance road safety.

Q4. If any assessment, will it be mandatory?


A. The DfT’s current thinking is it will be voluntary, as will all training.

Q5. Will any new assessment act as licence acquisition for B+E?


A. Any B+E vocational assessment will not be placed as a licence acquisition. All training will be voluntary

Q6. How are the licence-holders that passed their driving test prior to 1997 affected by these changes?


A. Licence holders who still have implied rights prior to 1st January 1997, may tow a category B vehicle and trailer combination up to 8250 kg unaccompanied and without ‘L’ plates and will be able to continue to do so after the new law comes into effect.

Q7. I have a B+E business and I am not an Approved Driving Instructor. What am I supposed to do with all my equipment now that the DVSA has stopped the trailer test?


A. Much of the towing clientele is business orientated and these businesses have Health and Safety criteria to meet, such as being able to prove that an employee is competent at manoeuvring a combination in any situation. Even though there is no DVSA test, a non-ADI is still able to train in this sector. 

The test may have been removed by the Government, but for all trainers, this is an exciting time as we have the ability to adapt training to cover each individual’s needs & requirements by keeping a baseline training and listening to our clients’ needs.

We are now able to work far more closely with our customers and offer far more support to them, plus the ability for instructors to up-skill to provide a more comprehensive and attractive service for clients.

This is in your hands to promote what you can offer as a service to your current customers & prospective new clients.

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