DVSA is encouraging people to get trailer training from an accredited provider after a survey found over half have received no training, despite nearly 80% of respondents having been towing for over 6 years.
DVSA surveyed more than 1000 drivers on their experience of towing and found over 60% are hitting the roads without any formal training, despite many towing caravans with their family onboard. Although confidence to tow was highly reported amongst those surveyed, there is no substitute for learning the right skills and knowledge with a trained professional.
The accredited trailer training scheme, which launched in May 2022, provides drivers with a good understanding of how to tow safely in different conditions, no matter what they choose to tow. It also shows motorists how to correctly carry out safety checks on their vehicle and trailer or caravan before setting off. These checks are essential in making sure the trailer is safe to be on the road and correctly attached to the vehicle.
DVSA Head of Vocational Policy, Jessica Williams, said:
“The survey is clear that whilst people feel confident about towing, the majority have not been trained by a road safety professional, regardless of when they passed their test.
“If you’re planning to go away this Summer, make sure you get training from an accredited provider. Whether you’ve never towed before, or already have some experience, ensuring you have the right skills and knowledge will keep you and others safe.”
Three quarters of respondents tow for leisure, with the majority towing caravans (74%) or horseboxes (46%). Despite not taking formal training, it is encouraging that over 80% of respondents said they wouldn’t prioritise any one safety check, such as brakes or lights, over another before setting off. As one of the respondents that always carries out a check put it, “I would be late leaving rather than miss something. It’s too risky to myself and others to miss a check.”
Roads Minister Richard Holden, said:
“Before driving with a trailer, it’s essential to always carry out all safety checks to protect yourself, your loved ones and all other road users.
“That’s why it’s great to see DVSA work closely with the National Trailer Towing Association to promote Trailer Safety Week and I strongly encourage everyone, regardless of whether you’re an experienced or novice tower, to take part in the excellent accredit training before towing.”
DIA, in association with the National Trailer and Towing Association (NTTA), designed and jointly operate The Safe Towing Scheme, one of three training schemes accredited by the government (which B+E trainers can apply to have their training accredited by, offering their clients nationally recognised and government endorsed certification). And we are also supporting NTTA’s Trailer Safety Week, taking place from 5 to 11 June, which aims to improve the safety of our roads by raising trailer safety awareness through education of end-users, dealers and manufacturers on safe trailer practices.
DVSA carried out a survey in May 2023, aimed at experienced drivers who had been towing for some time or planned to tow in the future. 75% of respondents have been driving for over 20 years and 21% between 6 and 20 years. Other analysis found:
- 70% said that they are fully confident to tow (26% fairly confident)
- 78% said they intended to towing for leisure, with caravan and small domestic trailer being the most popular
- 75% said they tow for leisure
- 82% own their own trailer
- The most popular things to tow amongst those already towing are:
- caravans 74%
- horsebox 46%
- small domestic trailer 44%
- flat bed trailer 38%
- livestock trailer 31%
- 40% said they have undergone practical training (informal or formal)
- 60% said they would consider attending a practical towing course as a way of improving their towing skills or trailer safety knowledge
- 77% said they had heard about trailer training courses delivered by an accredited training provider
Note: some of the sample sizes for individual questions vary.
Olivia Roe | Strategic Communications Manager
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency