CommercialFleet

Compliance: Should your 3.5t van be fitted with a tachograph?

A specific category BE qualification will be needed to tow a trailer weighing in excess of 750kg when the combined vehicle and trailer weight come to more than 3.5 tonnes. Drivers will need to pass a separate test for this.

To tow a trailer weighing more than 3,500kg with a car or small vehicle (Category B), drivers need to pass a test for category C1E.

The situation is unchanged for drivers who obtained their licence before January 1, 1997.

Their entitlement to tow trailers up to a gross vehicle weight of 8.25 tonnes, and a minibus with trailer over 750kg, is retained until the expiry of their licence.

Choose good quality equipment

Witter is one of the major towbar suppliers in the UK and a spokesman stressed the need for fleet operators to choose good quality equipment.

He said: “The towbar is now recognised as a safety-critical piece of equipment and its design and strength are now closely controlled by European legislation.

"Although towing capacities can vary between models, Witter always designs and tests towbars to the worst case conditions.”

Witter towbars are subjected to a two million cycle fatigue test before sale.

The test can take anything from two to five days, during which the towbar is repeatedly loaded with the maximum it will endure.

Towing tips

Before the start of any journey, drivers should ensure that:

  • The load is distributed evenly
  • The trailer is not overloaded
  • The load is secure
  • The lights are working correctly
  • The seven or 13 core cable and plug is undamaged
  • A breakaway cable or secondary coupling is used. Make sure this is undamaged and correctly connected
  • The tyre pressures are correct and the tyres are undamaged and the tread depth is legal
  • The wheel nuts/bolts are tightened to the correct torque (remember to also check the towing vehicle)
  • The trailer is correctly coupled to the towball or pin
  • The coupling height is correct
  • The trailer has secure mudguards


On the road:

  • Always keep within the legal speed limits, your capabilities and the road and weather conditions at the time
  • If the trailer starts to snake or swerve, ease off the accelerator and reduce speed gently. This is an indication that you are going too fast or the trailer is incorrectly loaded.
  • Do not brake harshly on a bend as this will make the trailer unstable. Reduce speed in plenty of time when approaching any hazard


Source: The AA



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Comments

  • Dr Mark Vaughan - 31/12/2012 00:12

    Nice concise statement re pickups and tachographs. Once fitted with a tacho many are also unsure what to do when they are not towing, since they now drive a behicle with a tacho but fall outside the requirement to need a tacho.
    Another area you migth want to run an article on that people find vague or are often confused about, is the speed limits that apply to pickups and also vans, definitiosn of dual purpose vehicles, definitions of unladen weight which is rarely supplied by the manufacturer, that some of the guidance provided by our Gov't is not actually what is written in law.

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    • bobby smith - 05/07/2015 20:55

      A couple of points - 1. Drivers who passed their test before 1997 may have an entitlement for up to 7.5 tonne but may have a 101 code which defines that they can drive privately but NOT for work. 2. Over 3.5 tonnes is into HGV territory(now LGV to confuse more!) - so do drivers need to gain their Drivers CPC?. 3. Trailers - you see vehicles including vans towing 3.5 tonne Ifor Wiliams trailers. Your vehicle must have a towing weight which determines the MAXIMUM trailer plated weight you can tow. So for example if it's a 3 tonne plated trailer and your max tow weight is 2.8 tonnes then you will be overloaded - even if the trailer is empty!

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  • jason eyre - 22/12/2013 08:37

    still confused i have a tacho in my pick up lorry 3.5 gvwand a mini digger trailer 2.7tonne do i need ato use tacho to take to customers jobs to do my work im a landscape gardener

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  • Mr B Hudson - 30/01/2014 12:21

    If most 3.5 tonnes vehicles should have a tacho fitted (and havent) why is nothing being done about it ???

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  • ian gerrie - 28/02/2014 13:23

    Ok we need a tecograph for van and trailer . When van is driven on its on do you still need to operate tecograph . Is there drivers driven rules eg like hgv drivers rules we must keel to

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  • jim - 06/03/2014 15:02

    what are the rules from 13/1/13?

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  • denny - 20/08/2014 14:20

    PITY THEY DIDN'T DO SOME WORK AND TOUCH UPON THE NEXT MOST OBVIOUS QUESTION.....DO I NEED TO INSERT THE TACHO CARD WHEN NOT TOWING?
    I spoke to a VOSA guy today and he said.....no, when not towing, assuming the vehicle is no more than 3.5ton, you don't need to insert your card in the tacho. The fact there is a tacho in the cab does not matter if you are not towing at the time. He said they will not usually look to pull over a van that is not pulling a trailer, (unless the nose is in the air from being overloaded).
    As already stated, if towing for hire or reward you need an O license.

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  • Gary - 26/01/2015 10:56

    A couple of points - 1. Drivers who passed their test before 1997 may have an entitlement for up to 7.5 tonne but may have a 101 code which defines that they can drive privately but NOT for work. 2. Over 3.5 tonnes is into HGV territory(now LGV to confuse more!) - so do drivers need to gain their Drivers CPC?. 3. Trailers - you see vehicles including vans towing 3.5 tonne Ifor Wiliams trailers. Your vehicle must have a towing weight which determines the MAXIMUM trailer plated weight you can tow. So for example if it's a 3 tonne plated trailer and your max tow weight is 2.8 tonnes then you will be overloaded - even if the trailer is empty!

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  • Dwane jhonston - 05/07/2015 20:53

    Ok we need a tecograph for van and trailer . When van is driven on its on do you still need to operate tecograph . Is there drivers driven rules eg like hgv drivers rules we must keel to

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  • Iain - 12/10/2016 17:43

    I understand there are also several exemption categories here:- https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/389294/drivers-hours-emergency-exemption.pdf

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  • Chris Byrne - 28/11/2016 16:30

    If we have a van that is 3.5 tonne gvw and fitted with a towbar and only use the trailer to move equipment belonging to the company, do we need a Tachograph? We will NOT be towing the trailer for 'Hire or Reward' so it would seem not?

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  • marc - 15/01/2017 18:56

    confused! I repair service and maintain trailers and compressors for a large utilities company, now I'm told as there a utility company they are tacho exempt, can I recover and tow there equipment to workshop if I have no tacho?

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  • Chris Weale - 09/08/2017 04:21

    I have C+E1 (107) on my license; this means I can drive vehicles weighing between 3,500 and 7,500 kg (with a trailer over 750kg), with no more than 8 passengers and a driver. With the Restriction Code 107, the combined weight of both can’t exceed 8,250 kg - so if I drive an 4 t van or truck, do I need to use a Tacho ?

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  • philip wright - 14/07/2018 16:01

    If I tow my site cabin weighing 620kg empty on a trailer to site to store my tools, using a 4x4 with GVM of 3270kg, and the site is, say 250 miles away, and it would take approx. 6 hours, however, driving is not my main job, what are the rules regarding this?? The vehicle towing capacity is 3500kg, vehicle, cabin, trailer and tools all belong to my company and I believe it wouldn't fall under for "hire and reward"?? Is there a limit on trailer size??

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  • a.driver - 03/05/2019 17:04

    if im not towing does my 3.5t vehicle still need a tacho fitted

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  • Colin Heron - 07/05/2019 07:57

    Hi, could you please confirm if this the most recent legislation. There are exceptions to this rule and the main two that may apply to Fleet Van readers are: •If the vehicle is not being used for hire and reward •If the vehicle doesn’t travel more than 50km (33 miles) from its base.

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