How many people are towing illegally?

rforsyth1984

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I ask, not because I intend to do it, but because so very few people seem to be aware of the new law with licenses and towing.

I have just started towing, with 'L' plates on my car and trailer, and take someone with me who has passed their test before 1997.

Lots of people on the yard (its a big yard too) are treating this with a slightly amused response, even when I explain, they look at me like I've just made it up!

I keep getting told to take off the embarrassing L plates, tow without an 'adult', etc, despite having explained it's the law people seem to think its ok to not do it.

Obviously I won't be following their 'advice', but it did make me wonder - if so many people on my yard have never heard of the new law, are there lots of people who passed their test post 97 who are towing illegally because they dont know?

I expect some people would never find out either, because I don't imagine the police randomly pull trailers very often unless theres an obvious problem?
 

Peacelily

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I expect quite a few people are due to either not knowing about the new licensing laws or just pure negligence.
It's really frustrating as I have vehicle + trailer however not the correct license (so will therefore be selling trailer....) and its very costly to get.

I think this is why there's the sharp rise in the little lorries which you can drive on a car license and still fit two horses in (so long as they're not giants!!)

It won't be long before a new law means you can't drive these little things either and more excuses for the government to make money on something else...bah!

Albeit tempting to tow illegally due to yes I doubt how many police randomly pull trailers over - I think I'd stick to your guns and refrain from it until you have your license...

(good luck for when you do take your test!)
 

quirky

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Having seen the vehicles some people choose to pull with, I should imagine there are more people over the legal weight limit
crazy.gif
than driving without having taken their trailer test.

Good for you for being responsible
laugh.gif
 

zoeshiloh

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There is a girl on my yard that is well aware of the rules, is scared of getting done herself, but bullies her boyfriend into towing her trailer illegally.

I have towed trailer with L plates on, and I normally have to park up at shows for my boyfriend (he can't reverse a trailer but I can!)
 

rforsyth1984

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Peacelily - thanks, think I will need all the luck I can get, reversing is so hard!

Quirky - its a good point, I expect there are many illegal combinations, partly because people think they can get away with it because the police are less likely to pull a trailer over (I would think anyway).

Zoeshiloh - I expect there are also lots of people who ARE aware of the rules who still do it, so I expect this amounts to there being a hell of a lot of illegal towing going on?!
 

Mithras

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I wonder how many police are confused by the law as well? Was there really that much to be gained by requiring a towing test, since the bad drivers who need to do it will just ignore it and the good ones will have loads of hassle over taking lessons and passing it. And the rules on towing trailers are surely based on the European type of trailer which is generally smaller, lighter and takes only one horse, which means it can ususally be towed by a normal car. Whereas the British market is dominated by Ifor Williams and similar trailers which are built to take two biggish horses and therefore mean a 4 x 4. But surely the Government should have got an opt out for the British market?

And what about all those large caravans being towed by totally unsuitable cars? Does anyone ever pull them over? Although the worst example of towing I saw recently was a big heavy Equitrek being towed by a Ford Mondeo at just over 60mph, swaying from side to side...

I've had my IW 505 downrated to 1800kg which means I can now tow it with my saloon car and can sell my Jeep. My horse will only travel on her own anyway.
 

Lippyx

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I would have to agree here.... too many people dont realise the change that came into affect as of 1997. I wanted to tow or drive a 3.5 ton lorry, but passed my test 1 month AFTER the law changed! My friend (who is younger) wants a 3.5 ton but I have told her so many times that yes, you can drive upto 3.5 ton, but once the lorry is loaded (horse, tack rugs etc) it would exceed the 3.5 ton limit and she'd be breaking the law!

I asked my OH's friend in the end (he is a driving instructor) and he said the only way I could drive a box or tow a trailer is to do either test!! End of!!

So, if you passed your test AFTER 1997 (inclusive) you CANNOT drive a 3.5 ton, fully loaded, or tow a trailer on a normal license, regardless of the adverts that say "can be driven on normal license" yes, but only if you passed BEFORE 1997!!

The only "lorry" you can drive on a post 1997 license is the little Renault Master type conversions, but then, they are about £10k!!
 

flyingfeet

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It would be interesting to know whether the police are aware of this one, certainly when they stopped me (because my number plate on the front of the 4x4 had dropped off), they never asked about my licence

However if you were involved in an accident, your insurance would not pay out if you were towing illegally.

I am about to make KAL drive my rig and despite having a LGV on her licence, I'll have to put L plate on the trailer. I have no issue with this.
 

martlin

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[ QUOTE ]
I would have to agree here.... too many people dont realise the change that came into affect as of 1997. I wanted to tow or drive a 3.5 ton lorry, but passed my test 1 month AFTER the law changed! My friend (who is younger) wants a 3.5 ton but I have told her so many times that yes, you can drive upto 3.5 ton, but once the lorry is loaded (horse, tack rugs etc) it would exceed the 3.5 ton limit and she'd be breaking the law!

I asked my OH's friend in the end (he is a driving instructor) and he said the only way I could drive a box or tow a trailer is to do either test!! End of!!

So, if you passed your test AFTER 1997 (inclusive) you CANNOT drive a 3.5 ton, fully loaded, or tow a trailer on a normal license, regardless of the adverts that say "can be driven on normal license" yes, but only if you passed BEFORE 1997!!

The only "lorry" you can drive on a post 1997 license is the little Renault Master type conversions, but then, they are about £10k!!

[/ QUOTE ]
Sorry, but that's rubbish. The 3,5T lorry weighs 3,5T fully loaded, so you can drive it on a car licence obtained after 1997.
 

black_horse

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[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I would have to agree here.... too many people dont realise the change that came into affect as of 1997. I wanted to tow or drive a 3.5 ton lorry, but passed my test 1 month AFTER the law changed! My friend (who is younger) wants a 3.5 ton but I have told her so many times that yes, you can drive upto 3.5 ton, but once the lorry is loaded (horse, tack rugs etc) it would exceed the 3.5 ton limit and she'd be breaking the law!

I asked my OH's friend in the end (he is a driving instructor) and he said the only way I could drive a box or tow a trailer is to do either test!! End of!!

So, if you passed your test AFTER 1997 (inclusive) you CANNOT drive a 3.5 ton, fully loaded, or tow a trailer on a normal license, regardless of the adverts that say "can be driven on normal license" yes, but only if you passed BEFORE 1997!!

The only "lorry" you can drive on a post 1997 license is the little Renault Master type conversions, but then, they are about £10k!!

[/ QUOTE ]
Sorry, but that's rubbish. The 3,5T lorry weighs 3,5T fully loaded, so you can drive it on a car licence obtained after 1997.

[/ QUOTE ]

thats what i was thinking...im so confused!
 

Teamkenny1

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The rules are quite simple.
grin.gif

If you passed your test after jan 1st 1997 you cannot drive vehicles exceeding 3500kg (i.e 3501kg) Gross Vehicle Weight. (Total with load on)
wink.gif


Some companies up rate the vehicle so it will carry over 3.5t this would then mean having a VOSA test and not a standard MOT.
If you are not old enough and get caught driving a vehicle that looks like a 3.5t but is uprated to, say, 4 tons and it turns out that the vehicles loaded weight is 3.6 tons which offence do you want to ommit to?
confused.gif


Always know the weight of the vehicle unloaded. (take it to your local weighbridge it's not expensive)
Go back with your horse in it and weigh it again!
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If you are buying new then insist on a weighbridge ticket from the buyer, you will be amazed how soon some people change their claims!!
shocked.gif


If you have any doubts these two sites should help.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/WhatCanYouDriveAndYourObligations/DG_4022547

http://www.chrishodgetrucks.co.uk/pagelaw/law10.htm

Happy motoring
 

bailey14

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I think people are prepared to break the law as they know there is every chance they will never get caught out! I am certainly not condoning this behaviour. It really irritates me as when the trailer laws changed in or around 1998/1999 I struggled to find the information about whether my car was illegal in respect of the towing capacity of it. I approached the DVLA who were clueless and visited the local police station to ask them to clarify the 'towing weights' having visited the weighbridge before hand and got the weight of my 'unit' with and without the horse, even getting the horse to stand on the flipping weigh bridge himself - bless! The copper at the station said he didn't know how to find the info out, but if I put a slab of concrete in my boot "it would balance it all out"!!!!! Totally gobsmacked! x
 

Mithras

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[ QUOTE ]
I would have to agree here.... too many people dont realise the change that came into affect as of 1997. I wanted to tow or drive a 3.5 ton lorry, but passed my test 1 month AFTER the law changed! My friend (who is younger) wants a 3.5 ton but I have told her so many times that yes, you can drive upto 3.5 ton, but once the lorry is loaded (horse, tack rugs etc) it would exceed the 3.5 ton limit and she'd be breaking the law!

I asked my OH's friend in the end (he is a driving instructor) and he said the only way I could drive a box or tow a trailer is to do either test!! End of!!

So, if you passed your test AFTER 1997 (inclusive) you CANNOT drive a 3.5 ton, fully loaded, or tow a trailer on a normal license, regardless of the adverts that say "can be driven on normal license" yes, but only if you passed BEFORE 1997!!

The only "lorry" you can drive on a post 1997 license is the little Renault Master type conversions, but then, they are about £10k!!

[/ QUOTE ]

No. A lorry which weighs under 3.5 tonnes is a lorry which weighs under 3.5 tonnes. End of. There are some coachbuilt lorries out there built using relatively lightweight materials which weigh about 2200kg, meaning you can carry one horse or two smallish ponies perfectly legally. 3.5 tonne lorries do not necessarily weight 3.5 tonnes unladen, its used to refer to the weight bracket they fall UNDER.
 

mtj

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I recently witnessed an accident involving a provisional driver. Mercifully no one was hurt, just property damage.

I have provided a statement, and now waiting to hear if the police will be calling me to court to give evidence. They are building a case.

So my advice would be to stick to what you are doing. Ignore the half wits at your yard. some people cannot help being twerps. I've even heard someone making snide comments about hi ziv to a rider about to hack on a road
crazy.gif


At the end of the day, you would be the one at risk of points on your licence and a fine.

good luck with the trailer test
 

lauraandjack

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I think there are an awful lot of people out there with the older transit type 3.5 tonne lorries driving overweight all the time.

3.5t refers to the gross weight of the lorry i.e. chassis + box + horses + fuel + people + kit.

I have looked in to the options at length and a lot of the transit horse boxes weigh nearly 2.5t when empty. So no way can you legally carry 2 big horses plus kit and people and a full tank of fuel. Yes they may fit in all right, but if you get stopped and sent to a weigh bridge you'll be in for it.

The newer Master/Movano conversions are a lot lighter, and with care some will carry 2 large horses and be under 3.5t. I just need a lottery win so I can buy one!

I think the trailer rules are stupid. Living in tourist land I see far more examples of appalling towing with caravans, yet you can tow most caravans without needing any additional test.

In response to the OP, I think there are many people towing illegally, both deliberately and unwittingly! A lot of people seem totally oblivious to the kind of vehicle you require to safely tow 2 horses.
 

sammiea

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[ QUOTE ]
I am about to make KAL drive my rig and despite having a LGV on her licence, I'll have to put L plate on the trailer. I have no issue with this.

[/ QUOTE ]

This is what really gets me to, i have my LGV class 2 (can leagally drive a rigid lorry upto 32ton) yet i cant tow an ifor williams 505 behind my discovery?? STUPID me thinks.

My hubby who also has class 2 but also has track layers & tractor categorys so can drive some serioulsy big machines on the road including tractors with huge grain trailers TOWED behind again cant drive our discovery with the IW behind = STUPID.

The goverment are money grabbing so & so's
mad.gif
 

Rocky715

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I had to spend all in all £745. this included three days instruction and the test fee. although its costly it is highly useful and I would definitely recommend. not only does it teach you how to position yourself on the road but it also teaches you what to do when things go wrong e.g. if the trailer starts to snake etc.
 

Hippona

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I passed my test pre-1997 (not telling exactly how pre....
tongue.gif
) which means I can legally tow a trailer. I never have done....even thinking about it makes me sweat, but if the mood took me, I could go out and hitch up, load up and be on my way. Legally. Now thats scary.
shocked.gif
 

mtj

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I'm of the same "generation", so took myself off for a lesson with some trailer trainers on a disused airfield.

money well spent
 

mazziek

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Being someone who is younger and knowledgable in why you might be stopped. Here are a few reasons why you would be stopped my police, any of your lights are not working, your car looks VERY VERY low at the back, number plates dont match, also make sure your number plates are of the legal size. Number plate size is not a common thing but it does get done, mobile phones is a HUGE one! some people are still texting and talking on there mobile and yes it is more obvious to spot when towing a trailer! Anything hanging off or out trailer, there are just few of the things that would arise suspicions and result in you being pulled over. in most cases you will be asked to produce licence etc. Its not worth the risk if you do get caught i know most my colleagues know about the rules so there is some of us that do know about the rules. Many people are doing but same as many people are still talking on phones, some day you might get caught but now u have few of things that would call you to get pulled over!
 

xena_wales

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[ QUOTE ]
I've had my IW 505 downrated to 1800kg which means I can now tow it with my saloon car and can sell my Jeep. My horse will only travel on her own anyway.

[/ QUOTE ]
That wouldn't be legal either though, as the car has to weigh more than the trailer, which would mean your car would be 1800kg too, meaning total = 3.6t so you'd be over anyway??
confused.gif
 

trundle

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[ QUOTE ]
I passed my test pre-1997 (not telling exactly how pre....
tongue.gif
) which means I can legally tow a trailer.

[/ QUOTE ]

Same here - i am not admitting to just HOW pre- i am
smile.gif
but even more worryingly than being allowed to just hitch up my trailer and go, I can jump into my friend's 7.5 tonne lorry and drive around to my heart's content, without having to prove a thing to anyone. Now that really is a frightening prospect.
 

Hippona

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[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I passed my test pre-1997 (not telling exactly how pre....
tongue.gif
) which means I can legally tow a trailer.

[/ QUOTE ]

Same here - i am not admitting to just HOW pre- i am
smile.gif
but even more worryingly than being allowed to just hitch up my trailer and go, I can jump into my friend's 7.5 tonne lorry and drive around to my heart's content, without having to prove a thing to anyone. Now that really is a frightening prospect.

[/ QUOTE ]

LOL! me and you in a trailer-slash-lorry convoy wobbling along the B-roads at 15mph.....
grin.gif
grin.gif
 

Baileyhoss

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[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I've had my IW 505 downrated to 1800kg which means I can now tow it with my saloon car and can sell my Jeep. My horse will only travel on her own anyway.

[/ QUOTE ]
That wouldn't be legal either though, as the car has to weigh more than the trailer, which would mean your car would be 1800kg too, meaning total = 3.6t so you'd be over anyway??
confused.gif


[/ QUOTE ]

Wrong. That is not the law, the 85% rule is european GUIDANCE. The law allows you to tow up to the car's maximum permitted towing weight, set by the manufacturer. It is often more than the weight of the car, but for instance the landrover defender that is plated to tow 3.5t, has heavy duty brakes & gears, etc to be able to do this safely.
 

Flame_

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I don't know how they got away with bringing in all these extra tests for new drivers post 1997. I've never done trailers but I passed my test in 1996 and for the past few years I've driven two 7.5 tonners safely around the country without all the extra training and expense it would have cost me had I been a year younger.

I quite understand why people refuse to obey these new laws, not that I condone it due to the invalidity of insurance, but they really are just another way of ripping off more money out of people.
mad.gif
mad.gif
 

The Bouncing Bog Trotter

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Thanks for clarifying that - it's something I think a lot of people have misunderstood. We have just been shopping for a small lorry and I have viewed a number that have been 'big enough to carry 2x 16.2hh horses'. When I've asked about unladen weights I have only had one lorry owner who has been able to give me a weight. Needless to say this is the lorry that we bought. Fortunately we are ancient enough to have licences that enable us to drive up to 7.5tonnes!!

We know that the combined weight of our horses, tack, passengers, fuel, water, and the general crap that accumulates in our lorry will most likely exceed 1500kg. Given that an unladen LT35 weighs about 2400 kg this enables us to carry 1100 kgs (the payload) without exceeding the 3500 kg (or 3.5 tonne) gross weight limit (total combined weight). You quite simply cannot carry 2 large horses in a 3.5tonne lorry unless it is a very modern box built with light weight materials or has been uprated to carry a bigger load.
 

xena_wales

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[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I've had my IW 505 downrated to 1800kg which means I can now tow it with my saloon car and can sell my Jeep. My horse will only travel on her own anyway.

[/ QUOTE ]
That wouldn't be legal either though, as the car has to weigh more than the trailer, which would mean your car would be 1800kg too, meaning total = 3.6t so you'd be over anyway??
confused.gif


[/ QUOTE ]

Wrong. That is not the law, the 85% rule is european GUIDANCE. The law allows you to tow up to the car's maximum permitted towing weight, set by the manufacturer. It is often more than the weight of the car, but for instance the landrover defender that is plated to tow 3.5t, has heavy duty brakes & gears, etc to be able to do this safely.

[/ QUOTE ]

I wasn't referring to the 85% rule. I had assumed the poster had downrated their trailer to be able to tow on a post 97 licence, which DOES require the towcar to weigh more than the trailer, and the combo less than 3.5t, but I now realise from your reply that the poster probably has a towing licence, but that her towcar is only rated for 1800kg, which is why she's downrated the trailer.
 

NeilM

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One point seems to have been missed by everyone.

If you don't have the correct license and you have an accident, you are NOT INSURED.
 
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