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Warning to drivers over learners’ rules
8:00am Friday 30th April 2010 in Equestrian
NEW driving licensing legislation revoking ‘grandfather rights’ to accompany learner drivers in small lorries, buses and vehicle plus trailer combinations will have a profound impact on the equestrian industry according to The British Horse Society.
From April 6. drivers who passed their car driving test before January 1997 have no longer been able to act as ‘supervising’ drivers to those learning to drive small lorries, buses and vehicle plus trailer combinations (but not car/horse trailer combinations in category B and E).
Crucially for the equestrian industry this includes 7.5 tonne horse boxes.
In a response to questioning by the British Horse Society, the Driving Standards Agency stated: “Drivers who passed their car driving test before January 1997 were granted implied entitlement, sometimes known as ‘grandfather rights’, to drive small lorries, buses and vehicle plus trailer combinations.
“These are classed as categories C1, C1+E, D1 and D1+E and subject to certain restrictions.
“It should be noted that it was never the intention to allow learner drivers to drive a vehicle on public roads unless being supervised by a qualified driver who had passed a test for that category of vehicle.
“Clearly there are road safety issues involved where a person who has never passed the relevant driving test will act as the supervisor for a driver in these categories. These changes will not affect the person’s existing entitlement to drive C1 or D1 vehicles or vehicle plus trailer combinations.
“They will however make it illegal for anyone to act as a supervising driver in such vehicles if they only hold pre-1997 implied entitlements.”
The new legislation has not been widely publicised and the BHS is concerned that many drivers will not be aware that they are affected since the changes come into force.
A detailed description of the changes from the DSA is available on the British Horse Society website at bhs.org.uk.