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New 'laden testing' rules for driving test vehicles

New rules have been introduced for vehicles used in practical driving tests in various categories. These vehicles must now carry a minimum weight when being used for the driving test.

Vehicles affected

The new rules will affect vehicles in the categories in the table below:

Vehicle category Vehicle description
B + E car and trailer
C1 + E medium sized goods vehicle and trailer
C large goods vehicle
C + E large goods vehicle and trailer
D1 + E minibus and trailer
D + E bus or coach and trailer

New requirements

Vehicles used in these categories of tests must have a load as shown in the table below.

Vehicle category Vehicle or trailer affected Minimum real weight Minimum load requirement
C Vehicle 10,000kg 5 x 1,000 litre IBCs
C + E 'drawbar' vehicle Towing lorry and trailer 10,000kg for lorry and 5,000kg for trailer 5 x 1,000 litre IBCs (lorry) and 3 x 1,000 litre IBCs (trailer)
C + E articulated lorry Semi-trailer 15,000kg 8 x 1,000 litre IBCs
B + E, C1 + E, D1 + E and D + E Trailers 800kg 600kg of aggregates or 1 IBC of 1,000kg or 600kg capacity when filled with water

Rules about the load

Bagged aggregates like sand, stone chippings, gravel or any other recycled material packages (but not toxic materials) must be in sealed transparent bags. The bags must:

  • all weigh the same
  • be at least 10kg
  • have the weight clearly stamped on them

Water must be in Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) which are made from semi-transparent moulded plastic, usually reinforced with a wire framework. The examiner may need to inspect an IBC used as ‘load’ for the test so it’s important that they can visually check it has the correct water level.

You cannot use any other type of load.

The load must be secured appropriately onto the vehicle or trailer.

When you start the test you will be asked to sign a declaration stating that the vehicle you are using fully meets the laden testing requirements and that the load being carried is properly secured.

Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM)

MAM refers to the gross weight or plated weight of the vehicle and means the overall weight of the vehicle allowed on the road. Therefore, when fully loaded the vehicle cannot weigh more than its plated MAM.

If the combined weight of the vehicle and the minimum load as required for the test weighs more than the plated Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), the vehicle is not roadworthy and cannot be taken on the test.

Real Total Mass (RTM)

RTM is the actual weight of the vehicle and load when presented for test. This must not be more than the plated MAM of the vehicle.

It is critical that you check the real/actual weights for your vehicle against the manufacturer’s plate.

Training for your test

You can use a laden vehicle, provided by your training school, while you are training.

Your instructor can be available at the start of the test to answer any questions about the load.

If your trainer wants a supervising examiner to assess the suitability and security of the load being assessed they can make arrangements to have the vehicle checked during the two weeks prior to the test:

  • telephone supervising examiners on 028 9054 1804 or 028 9054 1818

What will happen at the test?

Random checks will be made by the supervising examiner to ensure loads have been positioned and secured properly and meet the Real Total Mass (RTM) requirement. If the supervising examiner thinks that your vehicle does not comply they will bring it to your attention. You will be given a period of grace to make the vehicle comply with the RTM requirement, but if this cannot be done the test will be cancelled and you may lose your fee.

If the vehicle does not meet the new rules or if you refuse to sign the declaration the test will not go ahead and you may lose your test fee.

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