This means people who have passed their driving test since then – those up to 24 years old if they passed when 17 in 1997 – have far fewer categories on their driving licence than older drivers.
You would think everyone in the motor trade is aware of this, since driving beyond the terms of a licence is breaking the law and invalidates insurance, but some recent site visits make us wonder if this is the case.
As we arrived at one garage, the owner’s 21-year-old son drove on to the forecourt in a Discovery towing a two-axle trailer with a Renault Laguna on board for their used car stock.
Did his driving licence cover him? No. Nobody at the garage knew about the restrictions, and we have since visited a further three independent garages and a franchised dealership and none of them were aware.
Essentially, drivers who passed their test after January 1, 1997 can drive a vehicle with a trailer if the maximum mass of the combination does not exceed 3,500kg, and the maximum mass of the trailer is less than the unladen weight of the tow vehicle. Clearly, a Discovery, two-axle trailer and a Laguna far exceed that.
We understand that of the millions who have passed their driving test since 1997, only about 500 have taken a further test to expand their licence for towing. So, given the implications, we recommend you should check to make sure you are not asking your staff to break the law.