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.
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.
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