Caravan: what licence do you need to tow?


Thanks to the reform of driving licences that became official two years ago, it is now much easier to know which licence you need to tow. And the new B96 has changed the lives of many caravanners.

With the increase in the weight of cars and caravans, it was becoming increasingly difficult to tow without falling into the category of BE licence, a full-fledged driving licence subject to a test and medical check-ups. Good news came at the beginning of 2013, with the arrival of the B96 licence, accessible after training in a driving school, and issued "for life". This new category of licence allows a wide range of caravans to be towed by a medium or large saloon car, a large MPV or an SUV. Please note that for this dossier, we have taken as reference the official texts that are the articles of the Highway Code R 221-4, R 221-8 as well as the decree of 17 January 2013, published in the JO of 18 January 2013, concerning the new categories of driving licence.

Which licence for which weight?

- B licence: when the sum of the GVW (car + caravan) does not exceed 3500 kg.

Note: the regulation simply adds the two gvw's on the registration certificates. The actual weights of the vehicles are never included in this calculation. Note: if the weight of the caravan does not exceed 750 kg, this limit of 3500 kg for the coupled vehicle can be exceeded while still officially included in category B.

- Permit B96: when the GVW of the caravan exceeds 750 kg and the sum of the GVW (car + caravan) is between 3501 kg and 4250 kg.

This category is obtained through a 7-hour training course at a driving school, which costs a few hundred euros. This training allows the beginner to become familiar with the essential gestures for towing. For other drivers, it is a good "refresher course". Quick (one day) and simple, the training that allows you to obtain the B96 is definitive, without a subsequent medical check-up. Those who have a BE licence do not, of course, need the B96. Please note that a BE licence that has not been revalidated by the medical examination does not give an equivalence with the B96.

Note: do not confuse B96 with B79, a specific endorsement that authorises the driving of motorhomes with a weight exceeding 3500 kg.

- BE licence: when the sum of the GVWRs is between 4251 kg and 7000 kg.

The BE category is a real licence with all the related obligations: obligation to retake the code for holders of a licence that is more than 5 years old, theoretical and practical driving training, prior medical check-up and then periodic check-ups for the renewal of the licence. It is validated at the following intervals: every 5 years for drivers under 60 years of age, every 2 years between 60 and 76 years of age, and every year from 76 years of age.

Those who would like to get rid of this medical constraint can take the B 96 training, if of course their carriage corresponds to this category


Note: holders of an old E or EB licence, if they continue to validate it periodically (medical check-up), are automatically holders of the BE licence.


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