The DSA (Driving Standards Agency) and The Caravan Club have urged those motorists returning to caravanning this summer to take a caravan or motorhome training course.

Figures released by the Caravan Club show bookings are up 40% this year as recession hit Brits return to caravanning for their summer holiday as opposed to more expensive breaks.

The DSA’s Chief Driving Examiner, Trevor Wedge, said “Anyone who has not towed a caravan for a number of years should make sure they are familiar with any changes that may have taken place before they get in the driver’s seat. Handling, manoeuvring and vision is different for a driver when towing”.

Both caravan and motorhome training courses are being offered by the Caravan Club to new members and those existing members returning to caravanning.

The DSA and the Caravan Club are also advising those motorists returning to caravanning to check the list below:

1. If a driver passed their test before 1997, they will be allowed to drive any car, and tow any caravan (weighing up to a combined maximum allowable mass of 8250kg).

But for drivers who passed their test after January 1997 there are additional restrictions and they may need to take a further driving test in order to tow the largest car/caravan outfits.

2. Caravans have tended to become heavier over the years. Drivers must make sure their car and caravan are an appropriate match or their combination could be unsafe or even illegal.

3. Drivers must make sure they are familiar with new technology features, such as stability control systems.

4. Drivers must check their car and caravan electrical connector and find an adaptor if the connectors are not the same at each end.

Those readers interested in taking the Caravan Club towing training course can find out more here.

New taxi drivers in Durham will now have to undergo an assessment by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) before they are granted a licence to drive a taxi.

The assessment, set at a higher standard than the normal driving test for learner drivers, will involve DSA examiners assessing the taxi drivers ability in a ‘real’ driving environment, including special taxi manoeuvres.

The DSA’s Chief Operating Officer, Brian Gilhooley, said: “We are delighted that Durham County Council has decided to introduce this assessment as driving a taxi carries a great deal of responsibility.”

Successful taxi drivers will receive a certificate of competence which shows they can drive and carry passengers in safety and comfort.

The taxi tests are being carried out at Bishop Auckland, Darlington, Longbenton and Middlesbrough driving test centres.

Over 120 councils throughout the UK have already agreed to undertake taxi driver assessment.