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.