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Driving Licences & Motorhomes
11/02/21, 17:27

Driving Licences & Motorhomes

We often get asked on our group about which category of licence is needed to drive a motorhome, and is there another test to do. It all comes down to when you passed your driving test, what is the weight of the motorhome you're renting or buying,and what categories you have already on your licence, In order to try and give as much information as possible, we've gathered the information herein after from the NI Direct Driving motorhomes page , and the NDLS website for ROI.
Are you thinking of buying or hiring a motorhome for the holidays? Or maybe you want to import one from another country? Before you decide you'll need to check the entitlement you hold on your driving licence and the size of motorhome you plan to drive.
You will need to check that your driving licence gives you entitlement to drive a motorhome. The categories shown on your licence allow you to drive vehicles up to certain weights, known as the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM).
Category B (car) entitlement
You can drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes MAM, together with a trailer not exceeding 750 kilograms. To tow a heavier trailer you will need category B+E entitlement.
Category C1 entitlement
You can drive vehicles over 3.5 tonnes MAM but less than 7.5 tonnes (with or without a trailer up to 750 kilograms). To tow a heavier trailer you will need category C1+E entitlement.
If you passed the category C1+E test: before 1 January 1997 (shown as C1+E (79) on the licence) you are limited to driving such combinations up to a combined weight of 8.25 tonnes: for example, motorhome six tonnes, trailer 2.25 tonnes, after 1 January 1997 you are entitled to drive combinations up to 12 tonnes in weight where the MAM of the trailer exceeds 750 kilograms but doesn't exceed the unladen weight of the towing vehicle
Category C entitlement
You can drive vehicles over 3.5 tonnes MAM. To draw a trailer over 750 kilograms you will need category C+E entitlement. Motorhomes of this weight can't be driven on a standard category B (car) licence, irrespective of when that category B entitlement was obtained.
The size of the motorhome
A motorhome being registered in the UK cannot be more than 12 metres long and 2.55 metres wide, unless it has an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) certificate. A vehicle with an IVA can have a maximum width of 2.6 metres. There is no height limit but, if the motorhome is over three metres tall, the height must be on a notice visible to you as the driver.
If you need to measure the vehicle there are some parts that you don't need to include in your measurements.
When measuring the length don't include the:
driving mirrors
rearward projecting buffers (made of rubber or other resilient material)
When measuring the width don't include the:
driving mirrors
distortion in tyres due to loading
Current limits
The Department for Transport (DfT) imposes the current limits that are contained in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (as amended). Representatives from European countries, including the UK, agreed to impose these limits throughout Europe.
A number of factors were taken into consideration, such as existing restrictions in different countries, vehicle manoeuvrability and typical road specifications.
Also, the overall size of large vehicles that can create an unacceptable safety hazard for adjacent property, vehicles and pedestrians, but especially for oncoming traffic.
No plans to change the law
The Department for Transport (DfT) has no plans to change the law on the maximum dimensions of a motorhome, or indeed of any other vehicle.
Motorhome construction and the law
Anyone selling, or offering to supply, a motorhome is responsible for ensuring that the size of the vehicle is within the law. It is an offence under the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order, 1981 if a motorhome that is too long or too wide is offered for sale.
As a customer, it is a good idea for you to be aware of the law, as ignorance of the law is not a defence in court. Your insurance cover may also be invalid if your vehicle doesn't meet the requirements of the law.
What category of driving licence do I need to drive a campervan or motorhome?
This will depend on the maximum authorised mass (MAM¹) or the design gross vehicle weight (DGVW) of the vehicle and passenger accommodation.
Vehicle Category B
Vehicle Description MAM not exceeding 3,500 kg and passenger accommodation is for less than 8 passengers in addition to the driver.
Vehicle Category C1
Vehicle Description MAM exceeding 3,500 kg and passenger accommodation is for less than 8 passengers in addition to the driver
Can I do my driving test in a campervan or motorhome?
No, you must sit the driving test in a representative vehicle for the category of vehicle being tested in.
Category B ,
four wheeled vehicles (e.g. cars/light vans), having a maximum authorised mass not exceeding 3,500 kg., with passenger accommodation for not more than 8 persons and capable of a speed of at least 100 km/h.
Category C1
vehicles (larger vans/light trucks) with passenger accommodation for not more than 8 persons, a maximum authorised mass of at least 4,000 kg., but not more than 7,500 kg., a length of at least 5 metres and capable of a speed of at least 80 km/h.
The vehicle must be fitted with anti-lock brakes and with recording equipment (tachograph). The cargo compartment must consist of a permanently mounted cube shaped closed box body, which is at least as wide and as high as the cab.

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