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Launching the trailer safety accreditation scheme

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In November, I explained the work we have been doing with the trailer training industry to develop the accreditation scheme.

Last month we launched the first part of the scheme, encouraging trailer training providers to become accredited, and now we’re ready to promote this training to motorists.

Before we get to that, I want to explain what’s happened since November. If you remember, we’d just held some workshops to look at what the accreditation scheme could achieve and how it should be delivered. I know many of you had a lot of questions about how the scheme would work, and I hope we’re now in better position to answer these.

Following up the workshops

After the workshops, we had 3 priorities to focus on:

  • establish a Council to act as a forum for improving and growing the scheme
  • develop the standards and syllabus for car and trailer towing
  • identify and formally recognise the bodies who would provide accreditation to training providers

The legislation to bring the car and trailer test changes into force was passed on 16 December 2021. This removed the need for motorists to take a mandatory B+E test to tow a trailer or caravan.

Setting up a Council

In January we held the first meeting of the National Council for Accredited Trailer Training. The Council members are:

  • the Department for Transport (DfT)
  • DVSA
  • the initial accrediting bodies

The Council is a forum to look at how the scheme is working and will meet regularly to check on how things are working. This includes reviewing take up rates for accredited training, whether overall standards are being met and feedback from training providers and customers.

Developing standards

To help the accrediting bodies make sure standards of training are being maintained, we have introduced a B+E training syllabus.

This sets out how to train drivers in the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to be a safe and responsible driver when towing a trailer with a category B motor vehicle.

We developed the syllabus in partnership with the Trailer Towing Advisory Group (TTAG), focusing on our common goal of keeping everyone safe on Britain’s roads.

The syllabus represents current good practice for driver training. Importantly, it recognises that there will be many different, valid ways to deliver the learning outcomes as we know many of you asked about whether the scheme can be tailored to the individual and their level of skill. Providing client-centred learning is really important, and we hope the syllabus will help you do this.

The syllabus has now been published on GOV.UK. I’d encourage you to familiarise yourself with it and use it when training.

Recognising the accrediting bodies

To deliver the accreditation scheme, we needed to formally recognise organisations who were interested in providing accreditation to training providers.

So far, we’ve formally recognised 3 accrediting bodies:

  • The National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI)
  • The Safe Towing Scheme (jointly run by the National Trailer and Towing Association and Diamond Advanced Motorists)
  • Skills for Logistics (SfL)

Accrediting bodies set their own fee structures and decide how they want to operate their schemes. They are responsible for making sure that the standards and syllabus are being monitored and maintained by accredited trainers on their scheme. To find out more about what each accrediting body offers, and how much they charge you will need to visit their website or speak to them directly.

The accrediting bodies will also play a vital role in communicating the scheme to prospective customers, encouraging people to take up accredited training before towing.

Launching to training providers

On 17 March, we held the first of four webinars to launch the accreditation scheme to trailer training providers and introduce the three accrediting bodies to them.

We shared details about the accredited bodies and their schemes, as well as contact details so training providers could seek further information on how to apply and get accredited.

Over 100 participants took part in the webinars, many of whom got to pose questions to the policy team and myself about the scheme and how it will work.

How can you help?

Today, we’re going to start promoting the scheme to motorists who want to tow. We know that you are as committed to keeping Britain’s roads safe as we are.

Promoting accredited training to your pupils, especially if they’re looking to tow trailers when they have passed their test, will help to raise awareness and hopefully increase take up.

We are also clear that this training is for everyone. There are many drivers that have always been able to tow without taking the B+E test and we know that many of them would benefit from professional, accredited training. So, if you have any other ways to signpost the scheme to motorists, including any of your former pupils, that will help us to raise awareness with existing trailer users.

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  1. Comment by Mick posted on

    This is a total turn around by the DVLA first they said that the trailer test was stopping and now your saying that you are recommending trailer training because people will benefit from this ,as a professional driver my self and hold a class 1 LGV license the rules are totally wrong what a joke next you will be saying that you wont need license to drive a LGV but you are recommending training

    • Replies to Mick>

      Comment by Steve D posted on

      Given recent difficulties trying to see a Doctor to get a medical, I decided at age 70 with accident free record not to bother renewing my HGV1.
      To now find there are moves to restrict my ability to tow my own trailers is ridiculous.
      It seems that every time there is a turn down in the economy, the training industry jumps on the bandwagon to make the lives of HGV drivers and other industries more difficult.

  2. Comment by Vic Fayers-Hallin posted on

    When and where will this training to take please as I am very interested in applying for the training

  3. Comment by Eric Johnson posted on

    i have been a professional long distance and european driver for over 30 years. i retrained as an adi 10 yrs ago and promot safe driving ,
    i do understand doing away with DVSA testing B+E due to backlog and time restrictions. However i believe better preparation of training up the private companies and still Testing the trailer B+E drivers within the realms of how the companies deal with the theory test. like pearsons or the LGV training companies should have been put in place. Before the DVSA bailed out

  4. Comment by Sally jones posted on

    The dvsa is a complete laugh, this is massive back pedalling. If people don't have to spend the money why would they. The dvsa put businesses lights out overnight, no warning, instead of looking at things from a business perspective and implementing more tests/examiners or looking at external ways around offering the b+e test. They should be ashamed of themselves as a 'safety driving council'. If safety was the main concern, they wouldn't have so promptly disbanded the testing system.

  5. Comment by Carl warring posted on

    To all the people blaming the dvsa, it was the government that changed the law about people needing to take a test to take a trailer not the dvsa, the government also advised that you should still do some training before actually towing, as a driving instructor I am no fan of the dvsa and was completely against stopping trailer tests, but it was someone in a government office that thought stopping the trailer test would open up spaces for lorry and driving tests, sadly it is them that are the idiots, in this case the dvsa are the ones that are just trying keep our roads safer, as someone else has already said can't see many people paying for training that they don't have to legally do anymore.

  6. Comment by Brian jp Sallis posted on

    is this going to be compulsory to tow a caravan? if not then why would people want to pay for it? and also do drivers that have held class one HGV (LGV) get it on grandfather rights as I have had my HGV 1 for over 40 years and have let it lapse due to illness but I still have my CPC driver

  7. Comment by Martin wood posted on

    3billion to the holiday market 555,000 caravans 300,000 motorhomes not even starting with builders/plant towers farmers etc nothing like a 17yr old in a fast track 30ft trailer or other farm equipment on the highway.
    DVLA and the insurance companies would have to get in touch with everyone who owns a caravan , " hello by the way you need to take a towing examination test " that is never going to happen .
    The industry itself would have to take part no sale of caravans or trailers until you can show your licence that your competent in towing.
    Personally I think all HGV driver's should be refreshed in a test every 5yrs

  8. Comment by Graham Taylor ADI posted on

    I totally agree with comments above. The trailer test should neve have been abollished. A new driver can now tow a caravan with no further training, hundreds of miles on a motorway. It's sure to end in carnage. Voluntary training has never worked. New drivers will not spend any further money after they have passed their test. In 30 years of instructing I have done very few motorway lessons after test, and very few Pass Plus since insurance companies started giving little to no discount.

  9. Comment by Keith Lane posted on

    Not going to work.
    What is the point in having something accredited that will have almost zero take-up in real life.
    The B+E test has been abandoned - putting out of business the many training organisations providing real road safety.
    Previously, when the B+E test was necessary, the organisations providing the training had, without need for accreditation, put together their own syllabus which clearly worked, bearing in mind that these organisations were already accredited by the DVSA.
    Unless the DVSA revert again, and make the B+E compulsory again, this is worthless.

  10. Comment by Jonathon Bower posted on

    Trailer training is essential for all drivers that are about to start towing ,I have seen too many incidents over the years.