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Driving licence categories and codes

What do those random numbers and letters on your DVLA driving licence mean?

Owning a car is hard enough - having to sort car insurance, tax and maintenance, without the extra headache of working out your licence entitlement.

So let's look at what all the codes and categories on your driving licence actually do, and what you could be entitled to drive.

Back of provisional and full driving licence showing categories

 

What are driving licence categories and codes?

It’s important that you know what you're allowed to drive, along with any restrictions you might have to follow.

This information is on your UK driving licence, whether that's a provisional or full licence, so check it if you’re not sure. 

On the back of your driving licence, there are columns numbered between 9 and 12.

The column marked ‘9’ refers to the types of vehicles you can drive. Columns ‘10’ and ‘11’ list the start and expiry dates of your licence for the various categories of vehicle.

The column marked ‘12’ lists driving licence codes. Jump to find the full list of driving licence codes and what they mean.

 

Driving licence categories: what can I drive on a normal car licence?

You have an entitlement to drive certain vehicles as soon as you get a full driving licence.

Here's what they usually include.

Category Vehicle type Additional driving test needed? Definition
A1
Motorbike
Yes
You can drive a light motorcycle with an engine of up to 125cc
AM
2 or 3-wheeled vehicles and light quad bikes
Yes
You can drive a 2 or 3-wheeled vehicle with a maximum speed of more than 15.5mph, but not more than 28mph. You also can ride a light quad bike with an unladen mass of not more than 350kg not including batteries.
B
Cars
No
Max 8 passenger seats
B auto
Automatic cars
No
You can only drive an automatic car
BE
Cars and trailers
No
You can drive a car or trailer of up to 3500kg in MAM
B1
4-wheeled vehicles
No
You can drive a light vehicle with up to 550kg if they're carrying goods
f
Agricultural tractor
No
You can drive a tractor
k
Mowing machine or pedestrian-controlled vehicle
No
You can drive a pedestrian-controlled vehicle or a mowing machine
q
2 or 3-wheeled vehicles
No
You can drive 2 or 3-wheeled vehicles without pedals and with an engine size of more than 50cc. The top speed can't be more than 15.5mph.

Category B - passed before 1 January 1997

You can drive a 4-wheel vehicle and trailer combination with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of 8,250kg if you passed before 1 January 1997. You can also drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM.

Category B - passed after 1 January 1997

If you passed your driving test on or after January 1997 you can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg MAM, with up to 8 passenger seats, plus a trailer up to 750kg.

You can also tow heavier trailers if the vehicle and trailer MAM is not more than 3.500kg. 

You're allowed to ride motor tricycles with a power output higher than 15kW, providing you’re over 21 years old. 

If you have a physical disability with provisional category B entitlement, you also have provisional entitlement to ride Category A1 or A motor tricycles.

 

This isn’t the full list, especially if you passed your test before 1997. If your licence includes other category entitlements, check out the government’s driving licence website to find out what you can do.

 

Are there any other driving licence categories?

Once you’ve got a full driving licence, you might want to upgrade your entitlement so you can drive other vehicles for work or leisure.

For example, if you want to drive a bus, coach or lorry for a living, you need a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) to get a Category C entitlement.

Here are a few of the more common other categories you might need to take extra tests on to secure an additional entitlement.

Category Vehicle type Additional driving test needed? Definition
C
Large vehicles
Yes
You can drive vehicles over 3500kg with a trailer up to 750kg MAM
CE
Large vehicles
Yes
You can drive category C vehicles with a trailer over 750kg
D1
Minibus
Yes
You can drive minibuses up to 8 metres long, no more than 16 passenger seats, plus a trailer of up to 750kg. D1E allows you to haul a trailer of more than 750kg.
h
Tracked vehicles
Yes
You can drive tracked vehicles including former military vehicles
l
Electrically-propelled vehicles
Yes
You can drive electrically-propelled vehicles
m
Trolley vehicles
Yes
You can drive trolley vehicles
 

What are driving licence codes?

Driving licence codes stipulate what conditions you must meet before you can get behind the wheel.

There are more than 50 driving licence codes. Some of the common ones include ‘01’, which relate to eyesight, and ‘02’, which is to do with hearing aids.

There are also codes that relate to vehicle modifications.

 

Full list of driving licence codes

Driving licence code Meaning
01
Eyesight correction, e.g. glasses or contact lenses
02
Hearing/communication aid
10
Modified transmission
15
Modified clutch
20
Modified braking systems
25
Modified accelerator systems
30
Combined braking and accelerator systems (pre 28 November 2016)
31
Pedal adaptations and pedal safeguards
32
Combined service brake and accelerator systems
33
Combined service brake, accelerator and steering systems
35
Modified control layouts
40
Modified steering
42
Modified rear
43
Modified driving seats
44
Modifications to motorbikes
44 (1)
Single operated brake
44 (2)
Adapted front wheel brake
44 (3)
Adapted rear wheel brake
44 (4)
Adapted accelerator
44 (5)
(adjusted) manual transmission and manual clutch
44 (6)
(adjusted) rear
44 (7)
(adjusted) commands (direction indicators, braking light, etc)
44 (8)
Adjusted seat height allowing the driver to balance the motorbike while having 2 feet on the surface
44 (11)
Adapted foot rest
44 (12)
Adapted hand grip
45
Motorbikes only with sidecar
46
Tricycles only (pre 29 june 2014)
70
Exchange of licence
71
Duplicate of licence
78
Restricted to vehicles with automatic transmission
79
Restricted to vehicles in conformity with the specifications stated in brackets on your licence
79 (2)
Restricted to category am vehicles of the 3
79 (3)
Restricted to tricycles
96
Allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer whose combined weight is between 3,500kg and 4,250kg
97
Not allowed to drive category c1 vehicles which are required to have a tachograph fitted
101
Not for hire or reward (that is, not to make a profit)
102
Drawbar trailers only
103
Subject to certificate of competence
105
Vehicle not more than 5.5 metres long
106
Restricted to vehicles with automatic transmissions
107
Not more than 8,250 kilograms
108
Subject to minimum age requirements
110
Limited to transporting persons with restricted mobility
111
Limited to 16 passenger seats
113
Limited to 16 passenger seats except for automatics
114
With any special controls required for safe driving
115
Organ donor
118
Start date is for earliest entitlement
119
Weight limit for vehicle does not apply
121
Restricted to conditions specified in the secretary of state’s notice
122
Valid on successful completion: basic moped training course.
125
Tricycles only (pre 29 june 2014)
 

What are the driving licence penalty codes?

If you’ve committed a driving-related offence you could be given an endorsement, or penalty points. 

These are added to your driving licence and remain there until they expire. This could be for either 4 or 11 years, during which time you must declare them when buying car insurance. This may increase your insurance costs. 

Here’s a selection of motoring conviction codes.

Driving licence penalty code Definition
CD10
Driving without due care and attention: 3 to 9 penalty points
DR10
Drink-driving: 3 to 11 penalty points
IN10
Driving without insurance: 6 to 8 penalty points
SP30
Speeding: 3 to 6 penalty points

For more on this, visit our guide on motoring conviction codes.

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Are provisional driving licence codes different?

The codes on a provisional driving licence are the same, so make sure you know what they mean before you get behind the wheel.

It should be part of your overall knowledge of the rules regarding driving on a provisional licence.