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New driver licence changes to add administrative time for fleets

Effective as of 19 January 2013, the changes mainly impact drivers passing their test after the 19 of January and introduce restrictions around towing a trailer. Drivers who passed their test before the 19 January will not lose any of their entitlements but will still be affected by some of the rule changes.

The licence changes are as follows:

  • Minibus, bus and lorry drivers passing their test after the 19 of January in categories C, CE, C1, C1E, D, DE, D1 or D1E will get a licence valid for five years. Every five years up to age 45, drivers will have to sign a declaration to show they still meet the required medical standards. Drivers will have to submit medical examination reports after the age of 45 every five years to renew their licence.
  • Current drivers under 45 years old with the same entitlements across these categories will receive a licence valid for five years renewable based on medical reports until they reach 45 when they have to submit a medical examination report five yearly to renew their licence.
  • From 19 January 2013, drivers passing a category B (car and small vehicle) test can tow a small trailer weighing no more than 750kg where the combined weight of the towing vehicle and the trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg.
  • Drivers who want to tow a trailer weighing more than 750kg, when the combined weight of the towing vehicle and trailer is more than 3,500kg, will have to pass a further test and get B+E entitlement on their licence. They will then be able to tow trailers up to 3,500kg.

David Millier, compliance manager at Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services, said: ‘The DVLA is obviously keen to check up on a driver’s health more regularly before allowing them to drive buses and trucks which is good news.

‘It could add a little extra administrative time for a fleet department to update driver licence information, but it will help operators ensure their drivers are in the best health to drive vehicles on company business.

‘The new towing regulations will also ensure younger drivers don’t get to drive large vehicle trailer combinations without having the relevant training and passing a test,’ he added.

The DVLA has also introduced a new style driving licence. For more details visit www.gov.uk/newlicencerules

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.