A draft amendment to the EC 3rd Directive on Driving Licences could have meant that it would be easier for drivers of privately used vehicles to obtain a C1 licence (required for driving vehicles of between 3500kg and 7500kg GVW). Drivers who passed a normal car test after 31/12/1996 do not have the C1 category on their licence and currently must pass a C1 goods vehicle test in order to drive any vehicle of between 3500kg and 7500kg GVW
The proposal was that where driving is not the principal activity of the driver, i.e. it is solely for personal or leisure purposes, there should be no requirement to demonstrate knowledge of the rules and equipment applicable to the professional transport sector.
A separate C1 test was proposed, and the C1 licence category would have been be issued with a new restriction code (97) indicating that only private use is permitted.
This easing of the testing requirement might have reduced the need for motorhome manufacturers to build vehicles with a GVW of 3500kg or less.
Member states must incorporate the amendment into national legislation before 31/12/2013, in the UK the Driving Standards Agency consulted on the changes 2013.
In the responses to the consultation, for those that thought that a further test for non-professional drivers should be introduced, comments made were generally that a non-professional test would benefit those drivers who own motorhomes. The benefit being that motorhome owners would be able to take their driving test in their own vehicles without having to have a tachograph fitted.
DSA accepts that this is true. However, the EU legislation requires that apart from the content about the tachograph, all of the other content of the current category C1 test must remain and be tested. DSA is unable to just remove the tachograph content from the current test, for non-professional drivers turning up for test. A new theory test that did not include tachograph questions in the multiple-choice database would need to be introduced and IT systems would need to be changed to enable drivers to book this separate test. All of this would involve costs that would need to be recovered from those using the service – we could not have any certainty of the number of people who would use this service.
DSA does not propose to introduce another theory test or change the booking system at this time. The agency has however, considered whether it would be possible to just allow persons to attend for the test using their own vehicle and without having a tachograph fitted, even if the theory test is not changed. This would save money for the individual on the cost of the tachograph, but, they would still be required to have a restriction code put onto their driving licence by DVLA. The issue for DSA is how we tell DVLA to put the code onto the driving licence without having to spend money making major changes to IT systems, because driving test results are sent electronically via a special IT system to DVLA. DSA is currently investigating whether this could be done without it being too costly and introducing it with other future IT changes to mitigate the cost. This is assuming that stakeholders would wish to do this. The DSA stated that further comments on this point would be welcome.