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Unread 09-01-2015, 04:52 AM   #1
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Default Drivers' License weight limits

Yo guys, long time no post. I like this forum but being from England I often find a lot of the US based discussions hard to relate to. In fact, I am coming on here to post to this thread and ask what you guys think from a North American perspective of a stupid European rule.

Since 1997 the European Union (of which England is a part of) has restricted what you can drive on a regular car license down to 3.5 tons gross weight. Before the EU laws came in, this used to be 7.5 tons which seems reasonable.

I have read in the US that you can drive up to 12 tons on a car license which to me does seem a bit excessive, but on the other end of the extreme are the European laws which restrict you down to 3.5 tons.

That means that you couldn't even drive some higher plated vans which just seems silly.

The thing that has highlighted this gripe to me is that I have recently signed on to the books of a driving agency and unless I take an additional test costing up to 2000 pounds (about 3700 US dollars), I am not able to drive anything with a gvw over 3.5 ton.

Lastly, here is an article that illustrates the problem quite well, from the RV community in England:

What motorhomes does your licence allow you to drive? - MotorhomeFun

It seems quite stupid to me

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Unread 09-02-2015, 02:32 PM   #2
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A new 1 ton chevy weighs in around there when equipped with a diesel. I think its ridiculous. The US statute is a little lax, every time I see a 27' rented moving truck I shutter, but otherwise most bigger vehicles are not rocket science to drive.
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Unread 09-03-2015, 01:50 AM   #3
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It's not rocket science, but it is not all the same as driving a car. If I were to put lines as to where does weight starts to become an issue, it would be around 8-9 tons.

At this point, weight affects quite dramatically the vehicle's transient handling and braking efficiency. Allowing any-ol' driver to go and drive a vehicle in grose excess of this sounds to me like madness.

Last edited by Drivemaster; 09-03-2015 at 02:54 AM.

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Unread 09-04-2015, 11:49 AM   #4
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Thank you for your opinions guys, I actually posted this same topic on a British car website and people approved of the 3.5t gross weight limit, claiming a medium sized vehicle up to 7.5t vehicle is harder to drive, but I knew that was nonsense and they were just agreeing with the 3.5t limit because they are used to stupid rules that the government/EU comes up with.

It doesn't surprise me that most of those were people who got their licenses before '97 and thus had the higher weight limit anyway. These kinds of restrictions take away rights without any quantifiable result. I wish I could have shown you guys some of the replies to that thread but it was deleted.

And Drivemaster I agree with you. I think the previous 7.5t was a good limit but 3.5t is practically nothing in terms of gross weights.

I often wonder why they chose 3.5t instead of 4t or even 5t which are all far more reasonable, I really wish they kept the 7.5t limit though.

Last edited by Flynn; 09-04-2015 at 11:54 AM.

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