Driving licences

This chapter focuses on driving licence requirements, primarily for goods vehicles (category C and C1), plus information on medical circumstances, licence application and testing.

Updates for 2022:

  • Information on government changes to the staged testing requirements.

  • Amendment to D1E in the licence category definition table.

  • Notification of a proposed change to the rules on upgrading of a driving licence for passing a test in an automatic vehicle.

  • Amendments to the licence application process.

  • Upgraded driver licence picture to reflect a change in 2021 post Transition.

  • Amendments to the age limits table.

  • Updated definition to the minimum age limits table for categories D, DE.

  • Updated section on driving in GB as a visitor or new resident.

  • Confirmed the ability of a Swiss driver licence holder to drive lorries in GB.

  • Amendments to the minimum test vehicle requirements.Updates for 2022:

  • Information on government changes to the staged testing requirements.

  • Amendment to D1E in the licence category definition table.

  • Notification of a proposed change to the rules on upgrading of a driving licence for passing a test in an automatic vehicle.

  • Amendments to the licence application process.

  • Upgraded driver licence picture to reflect a change in 2021 post Transition.

  • Amendments to the age limits table.

  • Updated definition to the minimum age limits table for categories D, DE.

  • Updated section on driving in GB as a visitoror new resident.

  • Confirmed the ability of a Swiss driver licence holder to drive lorries in GB.

  • Amendments to the minimum test vehicle requirements.

Updates for 2021:

  • Changes to the driver licence definitions table with the addition categories on test pass.

  • Licence category definitions to incorporate trial for e-scooters.

  • Further information on older licence category definitions.

  • Update on entitlements normally obtained on a car pass.

  • Refreshed licence exemption table.

  • The licensing applications process.

  • The licence renewals section.

  • Clarification on the process of adding a test pass.

  • Additional information added to the age limits table.

  • Information added to the cost of renewal etc. table.

  • Information on medical conditions updated.

  • Driver licence section amended to reflect Brexit negotiations.

  • Changes to the vehicle maneuvering section table has been updated.

Updates for 2020:

  • The chapter now features a timeline on the history of driver licensing.

  • Changes to category B licensing regarding alternatively fuelled vehicles.

  • An update on medical requirements for diabetics.

  • Clarification on supervising a learner driver.

Download the Driver licensing chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law

Contents:

  • 2021 changes to HGV driving tests and allowing car drivers to tow a trailer without an extra test.

  • Driver licences

    • Employer responsibilities.

    • A brief history of driver licensing in the GB.

      • Removal of the counterpart.

    • Ordinary and vocational licensing.

    • Driving licence categories you might see on older licences.

    • Ordinary licences.

      • Key entitlements with car tests.

      • Probationary period.

      • Towing trailers with vans and light goods vehicles.

    • Vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes.

    • Vehicles over 3.5 tonnes up to 7.5 tonnes.

    • Trailer weights.

    • Vocational licences.

      • Entitlements of vocational licence holders, qualified before 1 June 1990.

    • Other LGV entitlements.

      • Vehicles on tow.

      • Solo tractor units.

      • Large passenger carrying vehicles driven by a category C licence holder.

    • Driver restricted to an automatic vehicle.

    • Driving licence code definitions.

    • Exemptions from LGV licensing.

    • Category B concession for alternatively fuelled vans.

    • Licence application.

      • Previous offences.

      • Licence renewal.

      • Additional information for drivers who need to keep their driving licence.

      • Additional requirements.

    • Photocard driving licences.

    • Photographs.

    • Photocard 10-yearly renewals.

      • Adding a test pass – photocard licence holders.

      • Provisional driving licence test pass.

      • Full driving licence additional test pass.

    • Age limits.

    • Cost and duration of licences.

    • Five-yearly licence validity.

    • Lost, defaced and exchange licences.

    • Medical reports and conditions.

      • DVLA online medical reporting service.

      • Insulin-treated diabetes.

      • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS).

      • Eyesight standards.

    • Provisional vocational licences, drivers’ hours and training.

    • Production of licence.

    • Suspension or revocation.

    • DVLA licence checking services.

      • Online driver licence checking (View My Licence).

      • Share My Licence.

      • Check Driver Licence.

      • Telephone.

      • Premium rate number.

      • By post.

      • Access to Driver Data Service (ADD).

      • Licence checking for non-UK vocational licence holders.

  • Driving in Great Britain as a visitor or new resident.

    • European Community/European Economic Area.

      • Residents.

      • Visitors.

    • Switzerland.

    • Northern Ireland.

    • Gibraltar and other designated countries.

      • Residents.

      • Visitors.

      • Vocational designated licence holders.

    • Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.

      • Residents.

      • Visitors.

    • All other countries.

      • Residents.

      • Visitors.

  • Mutual recognition of driving disqualifications.

  • LGV driving test.

    • The test vehicle.

    • Minimum test vehicle requirements.

    • Real total mass.

    • Staged testing.

    • The practical test.

    • Theory testing.

      • Manoeuvring exercise.

      • Braking exercise.

    • Waiting periods for retest before reapplying.

    • Mandatory licence presentation.

    • Failure and retest.

    • The ‘L’ plate.

    • Refund of fee.

Download the Driver licensing chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law

The Motor Car Act 1903 first introduced...

...measures to help identify both vehicles and their drivers. Today over 32 million driving licences are held in Great Britain, which are administered by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) part of the Department for Transport. Over the years many changes have been introduced in an effort to streamline the licensing system. In 1976 the first ‘til 70’ ordinary driving licence was introduced whilst in more recent years further changes have come about via a number of European directives that were designed to harmonise the levels if skill required by drivers entitled to use differing sizes of vehicle and to introduce a single model driving licence recognised across Europe.

Also covered in this section is Driver CPC or Certificate of Professional Competence. This system aims to maintain a high level of driving standards for vocational licence entitlement holders across Europe. The qualification and training covers operational subjects such as fuel efficiency, customer care and compliance with drivers’ hours or working time.