Understanding Driving Licence Categories and the Limits
Unfortunately, you cannot simply get behind the wheel of any old vehicle.
Certain vehicles require a specific driving licence category to be valid on your driving licence.
For example, if you wanted to tow a trailer over a specific weight or MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) you would need to obtain a B+E driving licence. There are many additional driving categories available. Some of the most popular include C1, C1+E, D1 and D1+E.
The B+E Category
The B+E category allows you to drive a vehicle with a MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) of 3,500kg with a valid trailer. The trailer size will vary and the year in which you passed your standard driving test will make a difference.
If you passed your driving test before 19th January 2013 you will be allowed to tow any size trailer. If you look on the back of your driving licence photo card it will say B+E.
However, if you passed your driving test after this date, you will are limited to towing a trailer with a MAM of 3,500kg.
Unlike the BE and B+E category, the C1 driving category allows the licence holder to drive vehicles that have a MAM between 3,500 and 7,500kg. However, this weight includes the trailer too.
The C1+E category allows you to drive C1 rated vehicles with a trailer that weighs more than 7,500kg. However, the trailer that is being towed cannot weigh more than the towing vehicle.
To make things a little easier – the combined MAM cannot be any greater than 12,000kg.
To obtain a valid C1 or C1+E licence, you will be required to complete a C1 Training Course.
D1 and D1+E Licence
The D1 and D1+E licence allows the holder to safely drive larger vehicles such as busses.
The category D licence allows the driver to drive any vehicle that holds more than 8 passengers with a trailer that weighs no more than 750kg.
The DE licence enables the driver to drive category D vehicles with a trailer that exceeds 750kg.