The end of the B+E car and trailer test, is it safe?
A driver training specialist is extending his offering of courses to combat the
‘ludicrous’ Government decision to axe trailer towing tests.
Steve Dulson of Dulson Training, which has bases in Shrewsbury, Telford and
Wrexham, says it is essential for drivers to continue to have formal training as he
believes the change to the law will have a major impact on road safety.
The law, which comes into effect later this autumn, has been pushed through by the
Government as a way of freeing up examiner availability so that new HGV drivers
can be tested more quickly in a bid to ease the national driver shortage - something
Mr Dulson disputes will actually happen.
The trailer towing test has been needed by anyone who passed their car driving test
since 1997 and wanted to tow things like a trailer, caravan or horsebox - with the
towed trailer and its load not exceeding 3,500kg.
Mr Dulson said: “It’s a shocking decision! The commitment we have put into
promoting trailer safety and trailer tests and to think that has now just dropped off the
face of the earth, it’s pure madness.
“There is a massive road safety aspect to all this and I would have bet any money
that the Government would not have gone ahead with it. It’s a ludicrous decision to
axe trailer testing and It’s going to cause a lot of people a lot of problems and harm,
bringing more danger onto the roads.
“It will impact road safety, has already closed some businesses and we don’t think
it’s a decision that will ultimately help the driver shortage. Indeed, a high percentage
of people within the industry - professional bodies, training providers and companies
employing people to tow trailers - all responded during the consultation period saying
it was not a good idea.”
Mr Dulson said he wanted to make people aware of the changes, warn them that the
new laws have not come into force yet and impress upon drivers the importance of
still getting formal trailer towing training.
“Trailer towing training should still be undertaken and we will do a basic safe-towing
course so drivers have a basic understanding and a head’s start if they are about to
start towing. We will also offer a fully comprehensive course designed to bring
drivers up to test standard, or even beyond test standard,” he added.
“Government advice, although it is only advice, is that anyone towing should still
undertake training and I can’t impress upon drivers enough just how important this is
because there is so much involved in towing a trailer.
“A trailer snakes, there’s a certain way of loading it, there are safety checks to make,
you need to know how to hook it up properly and how to reverse and drive while
towing. You really should not be towing a trailer on the road unless you’ve had some
formal training. It is essential!
“Our courses are aimed at private individuals and companies and will be
documented, certificated and written reports given so there is actually some
evidence that if you are going into a public place with a trailer you have been trained
and are safe to do that.
“The other aspect to consider with the changes and one that is not totally clear yet, is
how it will affect insurance. We are hearing that some insurance companies are
likely to increase premiums if you haven’t done some training, and companies may
be in trouble if there are injuries in the workplace or damage to equipment - but we
are still waiting to see what will happen on all that.
“The trailer market has probably suffered over the last two decades because of the
need for a test but now a lot more people will go out and buy trailers and caravans
and a number of them won’t be properly trained. It’s interesting that a lot of our
corporate customers who had drivers waiting to take the trailer test have committed
to continuing with the training - they still want those people to be properly trained.
“One of the last people we put through a trailer test, his employer rang us to say
thank goodness it was completed. He said he was not comfortable with having any
of his employees out towing without any formal training. He also said any future
employees would be sent to us for formal training before being allowed to tow.
“I think we will be doing 90% less trailer towing than we ever did but we can still do
some of it. As a business the changes impact us, but it is only part of what we do
and it allows us to focus our attention on other areas of the business. We remain just
as committed to delivering all our courses to the highest standards and producing
more and better HGV drivers to help tackle the driver shortage.”
Dulson Training provides all types of training, including HGV, PCV, towing, driver
CPC, forklift, First Aid, and ADR courses. For more information call Wrexham 01978
805868, Telford 01952 770659, Shrewsbury 01743 709611 or visit the website at