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Road safety advice and licensing rules for drawing light trailers

What you need to know about towing a trailer

First things first -
All trailers must comply with Irish Road Traffic Regulations. Thanks to our experience as manufacturers of light car trailers, we guarantee that our trailers meet all necessary requirements and will always be roadworthy.

If you have a category B driving licence to drive a car, van or 4 X 4, you can tow a small trailer such as our UNITRAILER trailers. Your category B licence covers trailers with a MAM no greater than 750 kg

According to rules provided by the Road Safety Authority, all unbraked light trailers must not exceed 750 kg in weight. The Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) is the weight of the trailer including its load. This is also known as Design Gross Vehicle Weight (DGVW).

Each trailer is fitted with a statutory plate, on which you can read all vital information pertaining to the total permissible weight of the vehicle.

All UNITRAILER trailers are unbraked, which means that the maximum permissible weight of each trailer bought at UNITRAILER may not exceed 750 kg. Depending on the dimensions of our models, trailers may weight anywhere between 110 kg and 140 kg. Let’s take the lightest variant as an example:

Maximum permissible weight of the trailer: 750 kg
Unladen weight of the trailer: 110 kg
Maximum load weight which can be carried: 640 kg

Remember that if you are drawing a trailer, you are not entitled to drive in the outside lane of a motorway, as the maximum legal speed limit for a vehicle drawing a trailer is 80 km/h. However, an exception to this rule applies if there are places where the speed limit is 80 km/h or less, or there is a temporary obstruction, such as a road vehicle breakdown, forcing you into the outer lane.

What is the penalty for towing a trailer whose laden weight exceeds the manufacturer’s specified towing capacity for the drawing vehicle?

According to RSA, if you don’t comply with laden weight provisions, you could receive a court summons if stopped by a Member of An Garda Síochána.
If you’re convicted, you could be fined (up to €2,500), be given a prison sentence, or both. With the exception of where 38 Road safety advice and driver licensing rules for drawing light trailers it can be shown that the use of the vehicle is unauthorised, both the owner of the vehicle and whoever is driving it when the offence is recorded can be fined. Finally, if detected using a vehicle and trailer combination whose axles or laden weight exceed those specified by the vehicle or trailer manufacturer respectively you are liable to receive 1 penalty point and a €200 fine if paid within 28 days, rising to €300 if paid within the subsequent 28 days, or 3 penalty points and a fine not exceeding €2,500 if convicted in Court.

Does my trailer need a number plate fitted?
Yes, unless the DGVW is under 750 kg. The number plate on your vehicle must be visible at all times. If the trailer obstructs your number plate you will need to attach another number plate with the towing vehicle’s registration number on the light trailer as well.

Does a light trailer need to be licensed and taxed?

Does a light trailer require roadworthiness testing?
Only trailers over 3,500 kg have to be roadworthiness tested.

I’m buying a trailer, what do I need to know?
All new trailers must be type approved and hold a certificate of conformity. This means that the trailer has met a European safety and quality standard.

Please be mindful that all UNITRAILER trailers are delivered together with all necessary documentation. You must not worry about any missing certificates of conformity – all is supplied along with the ordered goods.

Are reversing lights compulsory on trailers?
All trailers with a DGVW of more than 750 kg must be fitted with reverse lights. Trailers with DGVW of 750 kg or less must not be fitted with reverse lights.