Don't get caught without a valid towing licence

So you (or your kids) studied hard at university after finishing matric a decade ago, and the last few years have seen you consolidate your position with the excellent company you now work for.

The rewards are very satisfying, and you reckon that it’s time to buy a caravan.

That’s all great, until you hitch up your new purchase and take to the road. The moment you do so, you’re guilty of driving without a valid licence. Unless, of course, you bought a very, very small caravan!

When the credit-card licence system was introduced late in the 1990s, the vehicle categories covered by our legislation were revised to conform with international standards.

While the previous light-motor-vehicle licence was Code 08, the new legislation allows a Code B licence to be issued to the driver who passes the test in a normal car or small pickup.

This allows the holder to drive a light motor vehicle and tow a trailer with a gross vehicle mass of no more than 750kg - that’s the weight of the trailer plus its cargo.

A Code EB licence on the other hand allows the driver of the same car or bakkie to haul any trailer that can be legally towed by that vehicle.

When holders of the old Code 08 driver’s licences upgraded to the credit-card licences about 10 years ago they were automatically granted Code EB status, but anybody who passed their driver’s test in a light motor vehicle sans trailer subsequent to that - around 1998 - earned a Code B licence.

Those who now want to tow anything weighing more than 750kg fully laden have to go through the whole rigmarole of passing a learner’s exam and then doing the driving test - but this time with an appropriate trailer in tow.

By ignoring the law and towing a trailer illegally you’re risking more than just a fine. There’s also a very good chance that if you’re involved in an accident your insurance will refuse to pay for any damage to your vehicle or the other one involved.

If anyone is hurt, the legal consequences could be devastating. Remember to check those licences - yours, as well as those of your family and employees.


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