What motorhomes does your licence allow you to drive?

Before we can be sure of what we can drive we need to understand some terms that refer to the weight of the motorhome, it is the weight that depicts what license we need.

GVW – Gross Vehicle Weight as marked on the vehicles VIN plate.  The most familiar term to most people over 40.  This figure is the full up weight of the vehicle including fuel and everything the motorhome is carrying. These days GVM is little used so you need to be familiar with a couple more acronym; MAM and MTPLM

MAM = Maximum Authorised Mass

MTPLM = Maximum Technically Permitted Laden Mass

What can you drive on a regular Driving licence? This has been a bit confusing since we try to  standardise driving licence entitlements across Europe.

The generally accepted argument is one that agrees with the DVLA’s interpretation of the law, in that, 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  the 1st jan 1997 you should already have C1 on your licence. If your licence does not include category C1 you may not drive a motorhome that exceeds 3.5 tons.

If your motorhome exceeds 7.5 tonnes you will need a Category C (HGV licence).

There is an argument that has been raging for many years if goes like this. Because a “Motohome” is not a “Heavy Goods Vehicle” then you do not need to have a Category C (HGV) licence.    Hundreds of people admit to driving large American RV without having Class C entitlement.  They argue their insurers know, and are quick to point out that no one has yet been prosecuted for driving a large motorhome even when they have been stopped for other offences.

The best advice I can give is you want to drive a vehicle over 7.5 tonnes then “take your test and get your entitlement” To have an insurance company refuse to pay because of this could be devastating, you might have to take them to court to prove that you do have the right to drive such a large motorhome and that could be difficult and costly.   Also, it just makes sense. Going from a small car to a 10 ton motorhome with no training is plain silly.

Driving a large American RV on a car driving license

A number of RV owners drive large motorhomes like this on a car licence!

Motorhome Drivers and Medicals

Drivers who passed their test before 1January 1st 1997 and who want to who keep their category C1 entitlement when they renewing will need to have a medical.

If you are lucky enough to still be driving a motorhome aged 70 then it must be under 3500kg otherwise medicals will be required. Those over 70 or over that want to drive a large motorhome heavier than 3500kg but under 7501kg will need medical checkups every three years. This may well change so do keep an eye on the DVLA website.

Motorhomes and Driver Licences

For extra payload some might "Up-plate" or if you are over 70 you might want to "Down-plate" to below 3500kg

Many motorhomers who reach 70 with motorhomes over 3500kg are able to “downplate” their motorhomes, that means have the MAM officially lowered enabling them to continue driving the same motorhome.  They will lose some payload and may pay more road tax., but if you failed the medical this may be your only option. Down-plating is something you can do yourself but many choose to use SVTech to carry out this paper exercise for them



16 Responses to What motorhomes does your licence allow you to drive?

  1. Drew williams Reply

    April 17, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I passed my test in 2006 I’m 23 years of age my dad owns a motorhome weighing 3.7 tonnes will I be able to drive this on a normal license or pay £1000 for my HGV license??

    • TheBig1 Reply

      June 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      You will need to pass a test for group C1 to be qualified to drive above 3.5t and but below 7.5t, so no unless youve passed already, you cant legally drive a vehicle weighing 3.7t

  2. andrew ellis Reply

    January 12, 2013 at 10:34 am

    i past my test in 2000,can i drive a 3.5 tonne motorhome on my licence?

  3. Mark Reply

    May 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I passed my test in 1997, can I drive a 9.2 ton motorhome?

  4. Drew Reply

    June 17, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I have a category D license which mean I can drive a double decker bus with 80 people on.

    However I cant drive a motorhome with me and my wife in. Bloody ridiculous.

    • keith Reply

      June 7, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      i have the same issue only a 3500kg van or any bus with any amount of passengers. lol

  5. mike Reply

    July 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I understand that the weight restriction to drive an rv on a car license in the states starts at a lot higher weight than in the uk(Americans don’t do small) So would a restricted lisence of no more than 3.5 tonnes UK be acceptable in the states as their Max limit which is a lot higher (around 11 tonnes).
    Anyone experienced this?

  6. Derek Reply

    July 21, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Maybe its me but I find it a little confusing, due to a medical condition I can only drive up to 3500kg, is that unladen, no people in it, no water no luggage. Or is it 3500kg nett and then extras can be added?

  7. Jane Dunn Reply

    July 27, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I took 3 months to challenge DVLA over requiring an HGV licence to drive a special category M1 motorhome and constantly asked them to evidence the relevant Acts of Parliament. They were unable to provide any evidence at all. I was able to provide detail that shows that AT THE TIME I TOOK MY TEST you could drive a motorhome. Get the latest documentation on the European licence, in effect 12 April 2012 and it states you can drive what you could when you took your test.
    I also have a letter from the Police stating I can drive my RV – 20tons on my car licence.
    Note – You MUST not carry goods. Any internal fittings used when vehicle is stationary do not qualify as goods.

  8. Jane Dunn Reply

    July 27, 2013 at 12:51 am

    I add a further point – If we follow the logic provided then all busses and coaches will require an HGV licence in addition to a PSV licence.
    The argument is nonsense.

  9. Lorraine House Reply

    August 29, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Jane this is excellent news, what year did you pass your test? My husband passed his test in 1983 but I can’t find any old documentation to show what was on the licences then to check to see if he had it as we’ll.


  10. P Stewart Reply

    October 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Approaching 70 years, I am fully aware of the regulations but no one seems to advertise how heavy these vehicles are. Which motorhomes can one drive without bothering to continue the C and D licence entitlements.

  11. Pingback: When do I need an HGV? - Page 2

  12. alan skinner Reply

    April 21, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I am 71 and had to renew my license recently, I wished to purchase a motorhome to enable my wife and I to tour but find that the category C1 has been removed from my license which means that I can not drive one over 3500kgs, bloody cheek!

  13. karen Reply

    June 10, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Does payload include luggage and passengers? Also is there a restriction on how many passengers you can carry. I passed my test around 1990

  14. kev Reply

    June 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    So, for example I see a motorhome which has a unladen weight of 3000kg and a fully laden weight of 3700kg. I have B1 entitlement on my car licence, passed my test in 2001. So, where do I stand, can I drive the motorhome loaded up to 3500kg?

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