If you’re thinking of investing in a new motorhome for the first time, before you get carried away hunting down the perfect model for you and your family, be sure to check your driving licence.
Currently, the law states that if you passed your driving test after January 1997, there will be limits to the type and size of motorhome you can legally and safely drive. This means that if you want to drive any vehicle weighing over the authorised limit of 3.5 tons, you will first have to pass another test to allow you to do so.
The further test will be to achieve your B+E entitlement on your current driving licence, which covers all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and up to 7.5 tonnes – again another test is required for vehicles over this weight, but the B+E entitlement will enable you to drive most standard motorhomes.
The problem with this test is that it is predominantly aimed at drivers of large commercial vehicles, and much of the training involved is irrelevant for motorhome drivers.
This is why the largest motorhome organisations, the ECF (European Caravan Federation) and the UK’s NCC (National Caravan Council), have encouraged the European Commission to introduce a new sub category of licence, aimed at leisure vehicles and personal use – C1 97.
Under the old licence, a B+E driver would have to demonstrate that they could use a tachograph – a device fitted to all large commercial vehicles to accurately record information, such as driving hours, speed and distance, so that it can be produced on demand by the transport authorities. This is not necessary for leisure vehicles and so the new C1 97 category does not require the driver to use a tachograph as part of the test.
There is still a lot of work to be done to align the training with leisure vehicles, and the NCC are working with the UK’s Driving Standards Agency to implement further easements and exemptions to make the test more relevant to motorhome drivers.
The other thing you must bear in mind is that if you are over the age of 70 and looking to buy or rent a motorhome, even if you have the necessary licence entitlements, you must pass a medical to enable you to continue driving.
Your doctor will be able to give you the relevant advice.
For any more information about the necessary training and tests, or to view a range of motorhomes and caravans, simply contact the team at Glenns. We’ll be happy to help you find the right motorhome to suit your requirements and your driving licence!