Driving Licence Changes from the DVLA / DSA

Changes to the Driving Licence and Categories

From 19 January 2013 driving licences will look different to comply with new EU rules.

On 19 January 2013 the European Union Third Directive on driving licences comes into force. All new driving licences from this date will have to meet the terms of the Directive. The changes will mainly affect motorcyclists, lorry, bus and minibus drivers and those who tow trailers.

By Acclaim Team on 21st December 2012 in News

Changes to the Driving Licence and Categories

From 19 January 2013 driving licences will look different to comply with new EU rules.

On 19 January 2013 the European Union Third Directive on driving licences comes into force. All new driving licences from this date will have to meet the terms of the Directive. The changes will mainly affect motorcyclists, lorry, bus and minibus drivers and those who tow trailers.

 Your Licence Explained

Changes to the front of the licence

The following changes will apply to the front of new driving licences:

  • all dates will be shown as DD.MM.YYYY
  • categories shown will be separated by a slash
  • the date in 4b will show the licence expiry date

The expiry date of your licence will be shown on the front and the expiry date of your entitlements will be shown on the back of your licence.

The new style licence will look different to the current licence. All vehicle categories will be listed on the back of your licence with dates against those you are entitled to drive or ride. You won’t be entitled to drive any category of vehicle that has lines instead of dates. However, if you have passed a test in a larger vehicle you may still be entitled to drive or ride smaller vehicles of that type which have lines shown instead of dates, eg holders of full category A would be entitled to ride a category A2 vehicle.

Licence Counterpart

Your photocard licence is accompanied by a paper counterpart. The counterpart will contain your provisional driving entitlements, driving offences and other relevant information.

Lorry, Bus and Minibus Licence Holders

If you apply to claim your first lorry or bus test pass or renew your driving licence on or after 19 January 2013, the licence issued will be valid for a maximum of 5 years. This affects you if you have passed driving tests for categories C1, C, D1, D, C1E, CE, D1E or DE.

Once you’ve been issued with a 5 year licence you’ll need to renew the licence when it expires. To renew the licence and to renew your lorry and/or bus entitlement you’ll need to fill in the application and medical questions on an ‘Application for a lorry, bus or minibus driving licence’ (D2) or the renewal reminder form which you will be sent..

If you’ve already passed a driving test in one of the above categories, the new rules will apply when you next renew your driving licence or when you renew your lorry and/or bus entitlement, whichever is earlier.

Your Categories Explained

Mopeds (AM and q)

All licences issued on or after 19 January 2013 will show moped categories as AM and q in place of category p. But if you held full category p before this date you’ll keep this entitlement and it will be shown on your licence together with new categories AM and q.

Motorcycles (A1, A2 and A)

There are different minimum age restrictions and power outputs for the different categories. If you are an existing tricycle rider you won’t lose the entitlement you currently hold.

Tests for mopeds with 3 or 4 wheels, A1 and A tricycles and sidecar combinations will only be offered to physically disabled drivers or riders.

Tricycles (AM, A and A1)

There are varied minimum age restrictions and power outputs for the different categories. If you are an existing tricycle rider you won’t lose the entitlement you currently hold.

Tests for mopeds with 3 or 4 wheels, A1 and A tricycles and sidecar combinations will only be offered to physically disabled drivers or riders.

Drivers Who Tow Trailers

If you’ve passed your car (category B) test on or after 19 January 2013 and you want to tow a trailer weighing more than 3,500 kilograms with a car or small vehicle (category B and B+E), then you’ll need to pass a test for category C1E.

If you got your driving entitlement before 19 January 2013 you will retain it. There are no further changes to rules on towing trailers.

For further information on towing trailers please see booklet Requirements for towing trailers in Great Britain (INF30)(PDF 488kB).

New categories and category changes from 19 January 2013

For information on C category vehicles see ‘Further information’ section below.

 Note 1

Age 24 or 2 years from date of Standard A2 test pass.

Tricycle restriction code 79 (tri).

Note 2

You can drive at age 17 if you are a member of the armed forces.

You can drive these vehicles at age 18 if one of the following apply:

(i) You are learning to drive or taking a PCV test or Driver CPC initial qualification

(ii) Having passed a PCV driving test and Driver CPC initial qualification, you can drive if you’re:

  • driving on a regular service where the route doesn’t exceed 50km
  • not engaged in the carriage of passengers
  • driving a vehicle of a class included in sub-category D1

(iii) Having passed a PCV test before 10 September 2008 and driving under a bus operator’s licence, or minibus permit, or community bus permit and any of the following conditions:

  • driving on a regular service where the route doesn’t exceed 50km
  • not engaged in the carriage of passengers
  • driving a vehicle of a class included in sub-category D1

You can drive at age 20 after passing a PCV driving test and Driver CPC initial qualification.

For further advice you can contact the Driving Standards Agency by phoning

0300 200 1122.

You can drive at age 21 for categories D and DE if:

  • the vehicle is being used by the fire service or for maintaining public order
  • undergoing road tests for repair or maintenance purposes
  • you were entitled to drive the vehicle before 19 January 2013

Note 3

If you passed your test for category B or B automatic before 1 January 1997 your licence will already show entitlement to C1, C1E (8.25 tonnes), D1 and D1E (not for hire or reward).

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