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Towing licenses: All you need to know

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Not a week goes by in which I don’t hear people discussing, or even arguing, about towing licences. Whether it’s an innocuous question from a first-time caravanner, such as, “What code licence do I need to tow a Penta?” or someone trying to gyppo the system by claiming that you can use a C1 licence to tow a Mobi Lodge, the discussions pop up again and again.

That’s why, in this article, I’m going to try clear it all up, and back it up with what is stated in the actual Road Traffic Act, including up-to-date regulation changes.

WHAT LICENCE DO I NEED TO TOW?

The answer is actually very simple: If the caravan or trailer you are towing has a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of less than 750 kg, you are allowed to tow it with any licence except A or A1. (These are for a motorcycle).

If you want to tow anything that has a GVM of more than 750 kg, you need a licence that has a code beginning with an E – this includes an EB, EC, and EC1.

This means a Code C or C1 licence DOES NOT allow you to tow anything with a GVM over 750 kg.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EB, EC1 AND EC

All licence codes starting with E allow you to tow a caravan or trailer with a GCM exceeding 750 kg.

However, what the different licences limit is the Tare of your tow vehicle:

  • With an EB licence, your tow vehicle must have a Tare less than 3 500 kg.
  • With an EC1 licence, your tow vehicle must have a Tare less than 16 000 kg.
  • With an EC licence, your tow vehicle may have a GVM over 16 000kg.

LEGAL-SPEAK

Extracts from the National Road Traffic Act

Licence Code B:

A motor vehicle, excluding a motor cycle, motor tricycle, tractor and a motor vehicle which is a type of mobile agricultural or industrial equipment or machinery not designed principally for the conveyance of persons or goods, being a motor vehicle, including a motor home, the tare of which does not exceed 3 500 kilograms; with or without a trailer, the gross vehicle mass of which does not exceed 750 kilograms.

Licence Code EB:

A motor vehicle, excluding a motor cycle, motor tricycle, tractor and a motor vehicle which is a type of mobile agricultural or industrial equipment or machinery not designed principally for the conveyance of persons or goods, being a motor vehicle the tare of which does not exceed 3 500 kg; with a trailer the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 750 kilograms.

Licence Code C1:

A motor vehicle, excluding a motor cycle, motor tricycle, tractor and a motor vehicle which is a type of mobile agricultural or industrial equipment or machinery not designed principally for the conveyance of persons or goods, being a motor vehicle, the tare of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms but does not exceed 16 000 kilograms; with or without a trailer, the gross vehicle mass of which does not exceed 750 kilograms, but does not include an articulated what? (Word missing)

Licence Code EC1:

A motor vehicle, excluding a motor cycle, motor tricycle, tractor and a motor vehicle which is a type of mobile agricultural or industrial equipment or machinery not designed principally for the conveyance of persons or goods, being a motor vehicle, the tare of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms but does not exceed 16 000 kilograms; with a trailer the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 750 kilograms.


By Francois Huysamen

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