[Updated Feb 2013 - change to C1 test]
A question often asked is 'Can I drive a motorhome on my car licence?'
If your motorhome is over 3.5 tonnes MAM but does not exceed 7.5 tonnes you will need to hold a driving licence that includes category C1 entitlement. If you passed your car test before 1.1.97 you will have C1 on your licence. If your licence does not include category C1 you may not drive a motorhome that exceeds 3.5 tonnes until you have passed the C1 driving test.
An amendment to the EU Driving Licence Directive requires that the test for vehicles of category C1 should be adapted to the different characteristics of the vehicles falling under this category. This should have meant that there would be a different test for drivers who require C1 solely for leisure purposes. For example it would not be necessary to demonstrate knowledge of legislation that applies only to commercial drivers. The change was required to be implemented by the end of 2013, the Driving Standards Agency consulted on the changes in May 2013 but decided not to implement them. See our article C1 Driving Licence Test for Non-Commercial Drivers
If your motorhome exceeds 7.5 tonnes you will need a Category C (HGV licence).
A common misapprehension was that, as a motorhome is not a 'goods vehicle', you could drive any size on a standard car licence, this is not the case. The DVLA have confirmed that the licence requirements apply to all vehicles.
Drivers having passed their test before 1.1.97, who want to keep their category C1 entitlement when they renew their licence, will need to present a D4 medical report form, completed by a medical practitioner, with a D2 application form.
As we understand it, when renewing a C1 entitlement (over 3500kg up to 7500kg) at age 70 and above, you need to send a Medical Examination Report (D4) that has been filled in by a doctor. You will need to do this every 3 years.
Download the D4 Medical Report Form and information leaflet from www.gov.uk/government/publications/d4-medical-examiner-report-for-a-lorry-or-bus-driving-licence
The fee charged for the medical is up to the doctor, but it doesn't have to be done by your own doctor.
www.driversmedicals.com and www.hgv-medicals.co.uk both offer the medicals at a realtively cheap rate, there are no doubt other similar services.
If you don't want to take the medical (or don't pass it!) an alternative is to have your motorhome downplated so that it is certified to operate at 3500kg. Before considering this you must check that your motorhome weighs no more than 3500kg when loaded with everything you need, once downplated it will be illegal to operate it at over 3500kg. If you want to downgrade, which may have other advantages but bear in mind that you will have to pay more road tax, contact SVTech for details.
UK regulations also impose restrictions on the size of motorhome that can be used on the road. Of particular interest to those wanting to use big American motorhomes is that it is illegal to use, or sell, a vehicle that is over 2.55m wide or over 12m in length.
The Directgov website has a useful article on driving licence requirements and size regulations as they relate to motorhomes: www.gov.uk/driving-motorhome .