DfT release information sheet on motor caravan rule changes

In an attempt to clarify the rules and regulations on the construction of motorhomes the Department for Transport has issued a new information sheet which should be of interest to all motorhome insurance providers.

The sheet can be obtained in its entirety from the DfT at an address listed below but in essence explains in detail about the changes introduced in April 2012. It tries to explain the changes in a layman’s tongue including the new legislation surrounding Construction and Use, Lighting Regulations and obtaining approval for motorhome designs. It explains the difference between seats and beds and the type of approval required, the information sheet also details the rules and regulations motorhome enthusiasts must comply with when importing a motor caravan from a foreign country.

The section below details the spreadsheets summary of Construction and Use but mobile home insurance companies can get the complete information sheet from: International Vehicle Standards, Department for Transport, Zone 1/33, Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 4DR.

Construction and Use, and Lighting Regulations

All motor caravans (also known as campervans, motorhomes, recreational vehicles) used on the road must comply with various rules about their construction. The two most pertinent regulations are listed in a document produced by the DfT: GB Road vehicle regulations. To summarise, the motor caravan must be safe, in that it must be well-engineered so that it is not likely to fall apart or otherwise cause danger to other road users.

In addition, from 29 April 2012 onwards, new motor caravans have been required to be approved. This means that a government agency will need to sanction the design of new motor caravans before sales can begin. Existing motor caravans, already registered with the DVLA, are not affected by approval. Likewise, conversions of registered panel vans into motor caravans are not affected by approval. However, it remains the responsibility of the manufacturer/converter to produce a safe vehicle.

There seems to be a misconception circulating about a requirement for “crash tested” beds or seats. This is not the case. The rules on MOT testing (annual test) are not changing. Only the rules applicable to the construction of new vehicles are changing.

It is a sign of the times that the DfT have gone to such lengths to avoid confusion over compliance and everyone in the motor caravan business will welcome the information passed on in a manner that is concise and understandable.

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