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'Work fell off a cliff': Caravan and trailer towing law change slammed over training fears

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Earlier this month, the Government unveiled plans to scrap car and trailer driving tests as of September 20. The car and trailer, or B+E test, was the practical exam drivers needed to take in order to tow a trailer or caravan on the roads.

The test involves performing manoeuvres with a trailer attached to a car, with drivers judged on how well they perform on the road, much like a standard driving test.

Drivers who passed their car test before January 1, 1997, can tow a car and trailer combination up to 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM).

Following the change, drivers who passed their car test on or after January 1, 1997, can drive a car or van up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM. 

This move was seen to have been taken to help ease pressures on the UK’s HGV driver shortage.

READ MORE: New number plate changes could lead to ‘refusal on entry’ for drivers

Speaking to Express.co.uk, they said: “My work just fell off a cliff that day pretty much.

“I could have filled up until Christmas really with the amount of people on the waiting list to do the test.

“I had solid bookings in the diary for the next seven weeks, and they all just changed their minds.

“A handful of them have decided to do a bit of training, but that’s only about a quarter of the time that it would have taken to get to test standard.

“There are going to be people just hooking heavy stuff up, large trailers, and off they go with no training.”

The Government launched a consultation on the issue over whether to cut tests to try and alleviate the pressures on the HGV industry.

They continued, saying: “The consultation kind of gave us a hint of what was going to happen, it was worded towards ‘we’ve made our mind up, can anyone think of a good excuse not to change it?’

“You could tell by the consultation that they had already made their mind up.

“It was probably only a couple of weeks after the consultation finished, they announced they were going to do it.

“They announced it on the Friday that the following Monday there was going to be no more tests and that was it.

“The people who were even booked in for that week didn’t want to do it, because they didn’t have to.

“There’s a handful of people who have got the sense to come through for their training.

“There’s also a few people coming out of the woodwork that can now afford a little bit of training because they don’t need to pay for the full course to get up to test standard.”

There is a slight hope of optimism for training groups, thanks to the boom in popularity for caravans and other leisure vehicles over the summer.

They said: “Early next year, we might see a lot more caravan courses, people coming along to brush up on their caravan skills.”



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