Throughout our lives, there are many milestones. The first day at school, the first date, becoming a teenager, and reaching retirement age are just a few examples. Reaching the ripe old age of seventy is another milestone and it’s a time when many people choose to reevaluate their lives and look for ways to enjoy their later years.
For many people, that means exploring the option of buying a motorhome and heading out on the road.
One thing to consider before you start looking at a motorhome is whether you’re legally able to drive one. Once you hit 70, things can get a little complicated. This is all down to the requirement to renew your licence.
If you want to get out on the open road and enjoy exploring in your motorhome, this post will answer some of the most common questions.
Can you drive a motorhome after the age of 70?
Motorhomes tend to be larger than the average car which means you may need a special licence if you want to drive one. Licence requirements also depend on when you passed your test.
The type of licence required depends on how old you are and Maximum Authorised Mass MAM of the vehicle you want to drive. Maximum Authorised Mass MAM refers to the weight of the vehicle plus the maximum load it’s possible to carry.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to drive a larger motorhome once you reach the age of 70, but there are licence requirements you’ll have to meet. Those licensing requirements depend on the size of the motorhome you want to drive.
Knowing what you can drive on your licence is important to know. For many people reaching the age of 70, “grandfather rights” apply.
“Grandfather rights” apply to anyone who passed their driving test before 1997. These rights include the automatic entitlement to a C1 licence.
It’s not uncommon for people reaching the age of 70 to decide they no longer require this entitlement. However, if you want to keep the category C1 entitlement, you have to undergo a medical. The process of renewing the C1 licence can be expensive and you only retain this licence for a further three years.
For those of you who passed your driving test before January 1st 1997, the following licence categories on driving licences apply:
- Category B – This includes vehicles up to 3,500kg, with a trailer up to a MAM of 750kg
- Category B+E – This includes the same as Cat B, but with a trailer of more than 750kg
- Category C1 – This includes vehicles between 3,500kg and 7,500kg along with a trailer up to a MAM of 750kg
- Category C1E(107) – This includes the same as C1, but with a trailer over 750kg. However, the total weight of the vehicle and trailer combination must not exceed 8,250kg.
Category C1 and C1E are considered “grandfather rights.” If you have these on your licence because you passed your test before 1st January 1997, they have to be renewed if you want to keep them and then renewed again every three years after that.
What if you passed your driving test after 1st January 1997? You will only have B and B1 entitlement. This allows you to drive vehicles up to 3,500kg. Vehicle towing is also permitted using a trailer up to 750kg.
Manufacturers try to stick under this weight class which makes it easier for drivers who passed their test after 1997 to purchase and drive their vehicles.
If you want to drive an SUV, campervan, larger motorhome, or heavier vehicles over 3,500kg, you have to apply for a category C provisional licence and then train to pass the C1 test. A D4 medical is also required.
To start a C1 training course, you have to be over 18 years of age. You also need to hold a driving licence with a category B entitlement. In addition, you have to pass a Heavy Good Vehicle (HGV) medical test.
You can have this medical in several different places including your GP or a private doctor. There is a fee for this test.
You’ll have to discuss your medical history and whether any conditions might affect your driving. While it might be tempting to leave out some of the details, you could be breaking the law if you fail to state any known medical issues.
The medical also includes a physical examination during which your eyesight will be tested. After passing the medical test you have to be approved by the DVLA and then apply for a provisional C1 licence. Only then can you make arrangements for your C1 training course.
The training will conclude and you then have to take an exam that will take one hour. It’s a very similar test to the standard driving test and is an assessment of your driving skills against specific criteria.
How to renew your C1 licence once you reach 70 years of age?
Around 90 days before you reach the big seven-zero, you’ll receive a letter from the DVLA. This informs you of the need to renew your driving licence and includes form D46P which you have to complete.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore the letter because your licence automatically expires on your 70th birthday. Drive after this momentous birthday without renewing your licence and you’ll be breaking the law.
Renewing your licence is a very simple process. There are organisations that will do all the paperwork for you, but it’s easy to do it by yourself. The following steps apply:
This form is sent through the post by the DVLA. You should receive it 90 days before your 70th birthday. If you don’t want to retain your C1 entitlement, this is the form you complete and return to the DVLA.
Forms D2 and D4
Anyone who wants to renew C1 entitlement on driving licenses granted to you under “grandfather rights” you must order forms D2 and D4 from the DVLA. You can do this by visiting the DVLA website. D2 is your renewal application while D4 is the medical test. This must be completed by your GP and there will be a fee to pay.
You must notify the DVLA of any health issues, even pre-existing ones that have worsened. Notifiable conditions include:
- Heart conditions
- Heart conditions
If you’ve got any medical conditions that may affect your ability to drive, you may have to take further tests. Although the good news is that the DVLA often pays the bill.
In addition, you’ll need an eye test. Because you’re over the age of 60, you’re automatically entitled to a free eye test every two years. One word of caution is that the sight test for a C1 licence renewal application is more stringent than a standard eye test. If you wear glasses, don’t forget to take them along to your appointment. The same applies if you wear contact lenses.
Completing the application
You must complete the form and return it to the DVLA along with your current licence photocard. You must inform the DVLA, using the form, of your medical history and any medical conditions or disabilities that might affect your driving.
You may need to include a new passport-type photo. However, the form will specify whether this is a requirement.
Applying by post
If you’re applying by post, you must return the completed form and any additional documentation or photos. It can take up to three weeks for you to receive your renewed licence back in the post.
You can also apply for a renewal online using the GOV.UK website. First, you have to register and then follow the online step-by-step instructions.
- A valid email address
- Details of the addresses of where you’ve lived for the previous 3 years
- Your National Insurance number
- If you want to change the licence photo, you’ll need a valid UK passport number
When the DVLA receives your renewal documentation, it may require further clarification, depending on the information you supplied. For example, you may have to:
- Give permission for the DVLA to contact your GP or consultant
- Arrange for a specialist or local doctor to examine you
- Take an additional driving test or driving appraisal, or eyesight test
When the DVLA is happy that you’ll be able to drive your vehicle safely, it will renew your licence and you can continue driving according to the licence entitlements.
If you do not complete the C1 renewal and only complete the standard renewal procedure, you forfeit your C1 entitlement. This means you won’t be able to drive an SUV or motorhome with a weight of between 3,500kg and 7,500kg.
Can you drive while your application is with the DVLA?
While the renewal process is usually completed quite promptly, there may be instances when the application is held up.
According to Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, you may be allowed to continue driving even though you don’t currently hold a current driving licence. In practice, this is applicable when you’ve applied to renew your licence, but the licence expires while your application is being processed.
However, for this to apply, you must meet the following criteria:
- You have to meet medical standards of fitness to drive
- You have held a valid licence and only drive vehicles you’ve applied for on your current application and were previously entitled to drive
- You meet any conditions that applied to your previous licence
- Your completed application was received by the DVLA within the last 12 months
- Your previous licence was not refused or revoked
- You are not currently disqualified
If you’re unsure whether Section 88 applies to you, the best person to discuss this issue with is your healthcare professional or doctor.
Are there any over 70 driving licence restrictions and limitations?
If you’re over the age of 70 and want to keep on driving, you have to renew your driving licence. You also need to renew it every 3 years after that. Renewal is free of charge.
If you develop a medical condition or disability that could affect your driving, you must inform the DVLA, even if it’s not yet time to renew your licence. It is your legal obligation to declare certain conditions. If you have an accident and you haven’t declared one of the following health conditions, your insurance might not cover you.
Some of the medical conditions you must declare include:
- Insulin-treated diabetes
- Chronological conditions such as multiple sclerosis
- Conditions that affect your eyesight
Now you know a little bit more about whether you can drive motorhomes after the age of 70, you should feel much more confident heading out on the road. Just because you’ve reached such an age doesn’t mean you have to forgo a motorhome road trip or two before it’s time to hang up your spirit of adventure.
Can I renew my over-70s driving licence online?
Yes, you can renew your driving licence online. Renewing it online takes just a few minutes and renewal licences are typically issued within 5 days. When you renew your licence online, you also receive confirmation by email that your application has been received.
How often do I need to renew my licence after 70?
Licence holders are legally required to renew their licence when they reach the age of 70 and then every three years after this.
How much does it cost to renew my licence at 70?
Renewal is free.
Do I need a new photo for an over 70s licence for driving?
Part of the renewal process is updating your photo every 10 years. When you turn 70, you only need to update the photo once on your licence.
Do I need a doctor’s note to renew my driving licence at 70?
You may need a doctor’s note if there are health conditions you have to report.
Do I lose my C1 licence at 70?
If you don’t apply to renew your C1 entitlement, you will lose it when you reach the age of 70.