Construction and use of vehicles - main requirements

This chapter covers the design and build requirements of a vehicle depending on its use. Specifications for vehicles with projecting loads or high-level equipment are also given, plus ways to prevent bridge strikes.

Updates for 2023:

  • Aerodynamic rear devices on heavy goods vehicles.

  • UKCA Marking (Tail lifts).


Download the Construction and Use of vehicles chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law


  • Exemptions.

  • Abnormal and projecting loads.

    • Projecting loads.

    • Maximum overall length of long roads.

    • Aerodynamic rear devices (retractable or foldable) on heavy goods vehicles.

  • Brakes.

    • Motor vehicles.

    • Trailers.

    • Braking and safety coupling information – trailers.

    • Antilock brakes.

    • Tractor-trailer ABS connector.

    • Electronic braking systems.

    • Automatic brake adjusters.

  • Bridge strikes.

    • Bridge strike prevention guides.

    • Regulations to prevent bridge strikes.

    • Vehicles and trailers without high level equipment (non-relevant vehicles).

    • Cab notice requirements.

    • Determining the height to be indicated on the cab notice.

    • When a cab notice is not required.

    • Vehicles and trailers with high level equipment (relevant vehicles).

    • Exemptions.

    • Tippers.

    • International journeys.

    • Definitions.

      • Maximum height.

      • Maximum travelling height.

    • Electricity/telephone cables.

  • Definitions.

    • Goods vehicle.

    • Motor vehicle.

    • Motor car.

    • Heavy motor car.

    • Motor tractor.

    • Locomotive.

    • Excepted articles.

    • Centre-axle trailer.

    • Articulated vehicle.

    • Unladen weight.

    • Road-friendly suspension.

    • Vehicle classifications.

      • Category M.

        • Category M1.

        • Category M2.

        • Category M3.

      • Category N.

        • Category N1.

        • Category N2.

        • Category N3.

      • Category O.

        • Category O1.

        • Category O2.

        • Category O3.

        • Category O4.

  • Exhaust emissions.

  • Front under-run bumpers.

  • Gas propulsion.

  • Horns and other audible alarms.

  • Lifting axles.

  • Manufacturer’s plate.

  • Markings.

    • Unladen weight.

    • Weights on unbraked trailers.

    • Name and address.

    • Gross weights.

    • Dimensions.

  • Minimum ground clearance.

  • Mirrors.

  • Mobile phones.

  • Noise.

  • Opening doors.

  • Overhang.

  • Petrol tanks.

  • Power to weight ratio.

  • Radio – digital radio.

  • Radio suppression.

  • Rear under-run protection.

  • UN/ECE Regulation no.58/03 series of amendments.

  • Safety glass.

  • Seat belts and anchorage points.

    • Vehicles not exceeding 3.5t and dual-purpose vehicles.

    • Minibuses, ambulances and motor caravans.

    • General requirements.

    • Exemptions.

    • Summary.

  • Sideguards.

    • Specification.

    • Dimensional requirements.

    • Alternative EU standard.

  • Silencers.

  • Speedometers.

  • Speed limiters.

    • UK requirements.

    • EU requirements.

    • Requirements for goods vehicles.

    • Requirements for passenger vehicles.

    • Calibration and sealing.

    • Authorisation of sealers.

  • Spray suppression.

  • Springs.

  • Tail lifts.

  • Towing.

  • Tyres.

    • In-use requirements.

  • Tyre labelling.

  • 10-year tyre ban.

  • Weights and dimensions.

  • Windscreen wipers and washers.

  • Wings.

Download the Construction and Use of vehicles chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law

The Road Vehicles Construction and Use Regulations 1986 cover the design, manufacture, maintenance, construction and use of motor vehicles and trailers used by road transport operators, amongst others.

Specified Requirements

There are no specified requirements for loads projecting rearwards by up to one metre and forwards by up to two metres. It is, however, good practice to ensure that these are also clearly visible. These requirements are illustrated in the Construction and Use Regulations document and below, showing a side view of a construction vehicle carrying tubes.

Construction and Use Regulations Exemptions

Certain vehicles are exempt from a substantial number of the Construction and Use Requirements described in the regulations, for example an agricultural tractor. There are also concessions for vehicles more than 20 years old. In addition to the design and manufacture of goods vehicles, the Construction and Use chapter also looks at bridge strikes, usually caused by the driver being unaware of the height of the vehicle.

Continue Reading

Logistics UK members can continue to download the Construction and use of vehicles chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law here.