Here are certain laws that must be adhered to when driving horseboxes. Before you use your horsebox on the road, you will need to ensure that you are aware of any limits or other rules that may apply to you and your vehicle. Here are the top 5 laws to be aware of when using your horsebox.
1. Your vehicle must be roadworthy
It is vital that your horsebox is suitable for use on the road. The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is now targeting horseboxes. Your horsebox or horseboxes for sale will need a yearly MOT's as well as regular checks to ensure that it is roadworthy. Those who do not use their horsebox for long periods of time will need to be careful, as this can lead to problems such as perished tyres, tyres with flat spots or rusty brakes and springs. Your vehicle will be inspected during a roadside check and you may face having it, along with your horses, removed if it is found not to be roadworthy. You will then need to arrange recovery or your vehicle or horses. To prevent this, always make sure that your vehicle is in a suitable enough condition to be used on the road. If you are unsure, then arrange an inspection before you begin using it.
2. Your vehicle must follow its weight limits
There are certain weight limits for trailers and horseboxes. For all vehicles over 3.5ft, there must be a VOSA plate located on the vehicle, which will state the unladen weight and Maximum Authorised Weight. To calculate whether or not your vehicle is over the weight limit, take the unladen weight and add the weight of what your horsebox will be carrying. The total weight should not exceed the Maximum Authorised Weight. The law is very strict when it comes to weight limits, so it is vital that you avoid overloading your vehicle. To find out the weight of your vehicle, take it to a public weigh bridge and check its weight both when empty and when loaded.
3. You must have an operatorís license for vehicles over 3.5ft for hire and reward
If you are using a vehicle or a vehicle and trailer combination over 3.5ft MAM for hire and reward (where you are expecting payment for transportation of goods or horses) then you must have an Operatorís License. An Operatorís License can be obtained via VOSA. However, there are certain criteria that you will need to meet in order to be provided with one, including proof of financial standing and a Certificate of Professional Competency. There are certain circumstances where you may not need an Operatorís License. For example, if you own a 7.5ft horsebox and transport your own horses to amateur shows and it is not your main business then you do not need to hold an Operatorís License. However, you will need an Operatorís License if you are expecting payment for transporting someone elseís horses to the same shows. The VOSA provides more information regarding an Operatorís License on their main website.
4. You must only operate vehicles that you are entitled to drive or tow
There are certain rules that need to be followed when it comes to driving or towing vehicles. Depending on your driverís license, you may or may not be entitled to operate certain vehicles. If you passed your test before the 1st January 1997, then you are entitled to drive vehicles up to 7500kg MAM. This will appear on your license as category C1. If you passed your test after the 1st January 1997, then you are only entitled to drive vehicles up to 3500kg MAM. This will appear on your license as category B. The same limits apply to those wishing to tow a trailer. The MAM of your trailer must not exceed the unladen mass of the towing vehicle. Those that passed their test before 1st January 1997 can drive a vehicle and trailer combination not exceeding 8.25ft MAM. Those that passed their test after the 1st January 1997 can only operate vehicle up to 3.5ft with a trailer of 750kg or a total weight of 3.5ft MAM. If you are category B and you wish to drive a horsebox up to 7500kg MAM, then you will be required to take a test for category C1 in order to operate vehicles of this weight. You will be required to undertake a theory test and a practical test. The DVLA offers more information on driving licenses and limits on its website.
5. Your vehicle must be fitted with a tachograph if it is over 3.5ft and you must work within the Driving Hours Regulations
If your vehicle is over 3.5ft, then it must be fitted with a tachograph and there are certain Driving Hours Regulations that you will need to follow. However, there may be some drivers that this law does not apply to. For example, if your horsebox is 7.5ft MAM and you registered before 2006, then you do not need a tachograph fitted. Another exception is if you own a horsebox between 3.5ft and 7.5ft and are only using it for personal reasons and not for financial gain. In this case, you do not need to abide by Driving Hours Regulations.
The VOSA and Department for Transport (DFT) can offer more information on tachographs and Driving Hours Regulations.