DRIVING LICENCE CATEGORIES
A motor vehicle having a permissible maximum weight not over 3.5 tonnes and not more than eight seats (in addition to the driver's seat), including (i) a combination of such a vehicle and trailer where the trailer has a permissible maximum weight not over 750kg, and (ii) (if trailer over 750kg) a combination does not exceed 3.5 tonnes and the permissible maximum weight of the trailer does not exceed the unladen weight of the tractor vehicle.
Category B + E
Combination of a motor vehicle and trailer where the tractor vehicle is in category B (not over 3.5 tonnes) but the combination does not fall within that category (trailer over 750kg pmw and combination over 3.5 tonnes pmw).
Motor vehicles with a permissible maximum weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes but not exceeding 7.5 tonnes, including such a vehicle drawing a trailer with a permissible maximum weight not exceeding 750kg.
Category C1 + E
Any combination of motor vehicle and trailer where (a) the tractor vehicle is in category C; (b) the permissible maximum weight of the trailer exceeds 750kg but not the unladen weight of the tractor vehicle, and (c) the permissible maximum weight of the combination does not exceed 12 tonnes. (In a licence issued before 1 January 1997, this category is restricted to a combination weight of 8.25 tonnes).
Any motor vehicle having a permissible maximum weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes, other than a vehicle in category D, F, G or H, including such a vehicle drawing a trailer with a permissible maximum weight not exceeding 750kg.
Category C + E
Combination of a motor vehicle and trailer where the tractor vehicle is in category C but the combination does not fall within that category.--------------------
TACHOGRAPHS - Do I need to use one?
Q: As a recovery operator and my vehicle is taxed as recovery - am I exempt from the Drivers' Hours rules?
A: Yes, you are a Specialised Breakdown vehicle - however to be exempt you must only operate within a 100km radius of your base.
Q. What happens if I go over the 100km radius?
A: You then come under Drivers' Hours rules and must use a tachograph.
Q. How long do I stay under EU Drivers' Hours rules?
A: For the rest of that working week.
Q. How long do I have to use a tachograph?
A: For the rest of that working week.
Q. My recovery vehicle is fitted with an analogue tachograph - do I have to change this to digital?
A: No. Analogue tachographs are fine to use. Digital tachograph equipment is installed in vehicles; a) if the vehicle is new, b) if the vehicle does not have a tachograph fitted and; c) if you choose to change from analogue to digital.
Q. What happens if I am on a job which keeps me inside the 100km radius, then I am stood down at the scene, another jobs comes in and this takes me over the 100km radius?
A: As soon as you know your job will take you over the 100km radius, you must use your tachograph. You should also keep a written record of work for this day, from the start of this day.
A: Should you be stopped by an Enforcement Officer, you will be able to produce your written records of work and tachographs chart (if analogue). For e.g. From your base you travel 70kms to a breakdown. You recover the broken down vehicle to the customer’s address which is only 3kms away. (You keep written records of work for this). You call your base to say 'job done' and your base gives you another job which is 80kms away - heading further away from your base. You know that this next job will take you over the 100km radius so in goes your tachograph chart or Smart Card (digital). You are stopped by an Enforcement Officer - you produce your written RofW and tacho chart (if analogue), which confirms what you have done from the start of that day. If you are using digital equipment the Enforcement Office will have access directly into the equipment.
Q. If I come under EU Drivers' Hours rules - what are these?
A: You must have a daily rest of 11 consecutive hours but this can be reduced to 9 hours, three times a week with compensation before the end of the following week. Alternatively, 12 hours daily rest may be spread over the 24 hour period, taken in two or three periods, the last of which must be at least 8 consecutive hours, and all of which must be at least one hour. The weekly rest period can be a minimum of 36 consecutive hours if taken either where the vehicle is normally based or where the driver is based. If it is taken elsewhere it can be reduced to a minimum of 24 consecutive hours. Each reduction must be made up by an equal period of rest attached to a weekly or daily rest period and taken in one continuous period before the end of the third week following the week in question. The normal weekly rest period is 45 consecutive hours.
Q. What is an analogue tachograph?
A: Analogue tachographs make records on round paper record charts.
Q. What is a digital tachograph?
A: Digital tachographs require the use of the Drivers Smart Card to enable the driver to record driving activity. The smart card is similar in appearance to a credit card - displays a photograph of the driver together with their signature. The driver card is inserted by the driver into the digital tachograph in the vehicle and the card record and store date related to the activities of the driver and the vehicles that the driver has driven.
Q. Where do I get a Driver Smart Card from?
A: The Post Office has the forms, which you complete and send to DVLA along with a fee of £38. The Smart Cards are valid for 5 years.
RECOVERY VEHICLE LICENCE
A 'recovery vehicle' is defined in the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (Schedule 1, Part V) as a vehicle which is constructed or permanently adapted primarily for the purposes of lifting, towing and transporting a disabled vehicle or for any one or more of these purposes.
Such vehicles are placed in a separate category and are subject to the following rates based on revenue weight.
Exceeding 3.500kg up to 25,000kg -
£165 (£90.75 per six month)
Exceeding 25,000kgs -
£410 (£225.60 per six months)
Operators have the option of either registering their vehicles and paying the standard rate of excise duty based on the vehicle's gross weight, in which case there are no restrictions on use, or registering them as "recovery vehicle" and restricting their use to:
(a) recovering broken-down vehicles
(b) removing a broken down vehicle from the place where it broke down to premises for repair or for scrapping.
(c) removing a broken down vehicle from premises to which it had been taken for repair to other premises for repair or scrapping, and
(d) for carrying only fuel and other liquids needed to drive the vehicle together with tools with which to operate the lifting or towing equipment.
DRIVING LICENCES FROM 1997
What licence is required if you have a 7.5t vehicle and tow a caravan? Is it C1 or C1+E?
Example of C1 licence group:
a) take a slide bed which weighs around 5t unladen but is plated at 7.5 tonnes. The plated weight means you must not exceed 7.5 tonnes with whatever you carry on the slide bed.
Therefore your 5t vehicle has a 2.5t spare capacity on its plated weight so you can carry up to a 2.5t disabled vehicle from A to B.
b) The slide bed is called to a disabled vehicle which is towing a caravan. You are OK putting the disabled vehicle onto the slide bed (as long as the total weight of the slide bed and disabled vehicle does not exceed 7.5 tonnes in total). The caravan will be towed (therefore classed as a trailer) and you must not exceed 750kg when towing.
If the caravan's plated weight exceeds 750kg, i.e. i) leave the caravan and come back for it once you have dealt with the disabled vehicle or ii) your licence, if it shows you have C1+E then you can carry out the job in one go.
Good practice is know the unladen and plated weight of the recovery vehicle you are driving and what the disabled vehicle weight it - also is it towing anything - if so, what is that weight.
Example of C1+E
Same explanation as a) above but also:
Same as b) above BUT with a slight variation on the caravan (the trailer). The caravan (trailer) can exceed the 750kg but the plated weight of the caravan must not exceed the unladen weight of the slide bed (approx 5T).
The slide bed plated at 7.5T.
Unladen weight 5T.
Disabled vehicle plated at 1T.
Unladen weight of slide bed (5T) plus plated weight of disabled vehicle (1T) = 6 tonnes so well within the 7.5T plated weight.
Trailer - be it caravan, horsebox etc, can exceed 750kg but must not weigh more than the unladen weight of the slidebed (5T).
The combination must not exceed 12T - so you can have a 7.5T slide bed with a 1T disabled vehicle on it and tow a caravan/horsebox etc, to 4.5T and your combination will be 12T.
If you hold a licence issued before 1997 you are restricted to a combination weight of 8.25T, so you can only tow a caravan or horsebox etc. up to a maximum plated weight of 750kgs.
MIKE SAWARD F.I.V.R.
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