Project: Investigation of the impact of increasing the maximum permitted length of trailers towed by vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 3500kg or less.

Reference: S1010/V8

Last update: 10/05/2011 17:45:32


Regulation 7 of the Road Vehicles Construction and Use Regulations (C&U) 1986, as amended, prohibits vehicles (including visiting vehicles) with a maximum weight not exceeding 3500kg from towing trailers (not incl. semi-trailers) and caravans with an overall length greater than 7 metres. However, European "type approval" requirements on trailer construction permit a maximum length of 12 metres to be approved.

DfT is considering whether the reasons behind the introduction our national legislation on maximum permitted length for certain trailers are still valid and whether they provide a sufficient justification (on grounds of safety) to retain different requirements to the rules contained within European directives 96/53/EC and 97/27/EC.

The project should examine specific issues including: risks (road safety, driver competence, manoeuvrability, road infrastructure, increased competition from European manufacturers) and benefits (larger range of products, visitors to the UK can legally use longer trailers) of harmonising the length requirements.

This work will require a desktop study to collate and review relevant archive information to establish the original justification for the length restriction - if this can be traced. We would also like information likely to be pertinent to such a length limit to be collated and reviewed. The resulting report will be used to inform policy.



TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £20,107.00

Actual start date: 01 November 2010

Actual completion date: 25 February 2011