Drivers urged to check back of licence before hitting roads to avoid trouble

Drivers urged to check back of licence before hitting roads to avoid trouble

09/23/2022

Experts have urged motorists to check their licenses before they get behind the wheel.

Many drivers wrongly assume that once they've passed their test they can drive any vehicle, but some require you to take additional tests or insurance.

If a motorist is driving a vehicle that is not covered by their licence, their insurance will be automatically invalid.

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To make matters more confusing, the types of vehicles that drivers are legally allowed to take out on the road also vary depending on when they passed their driving test.

Government laws have changed over the years to limit what motorists can drive with a standard UK licence.

Motoring laws changed on January 1, 1997, in an effort to make the roads safer, by requiring additional tests to be carried out to legally drive category A, C, and D vehicles – motorcycles, vans and lorries.

Those who passed their test before 1997 are automatically qualified to drive a much wider range of vehicles than those who sat their driving test after this date.

The changes also impacted the rights of drivers to tow vehicles, with those who passed their test after that year requiring further permits to tow.

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As of September 2022, those who pass their standard test are now only allowed to handle category B, F, K, Q, and AM vehicles.

Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, Greg Wilson, said: ‘’There are many different types of vehicles, and it is important for drivers to know what they are legally allowed to drive so that they avoid penalties and ensure their motor insurance is valid.

“The rules of the road are constantly evolving. 2022 has been a significant year for change, most notably the updates to the Highway Code in January that gave more priority to vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians, so it’s best practice for all road users to keep themselves up to speed with the latest additions.”

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Comparison experts at Quotezone.co.uk have broken down what the letters and numbers on the back of UK driving licences mean.

To check which vehicles motorists are qualified to drive, they can turn to the back of the driving licence and see which of the following codes are checked:

Code

Meaning

AM

Two or three wheeled vehicles with a maximum speed of between 15.5 and 28 mph, and maximum weight of 350kg.

A1

Motor tricycles with a power output of up to 15kW. Motorbikes with an engine size up to 125cc, power output of up to 11kW, and a power to weight ratio no more than 0.1kW/kg.

A2

Motorbikes with a maximum power output up to 35kW, and power to weight ratio of 0.2kW/kg. This also covers motorbikes in the A1 category.

A

Motorbikes with power output over 35kW, or power to weight ratio of 0.2kW/kg. Motor tricycles with a power output over 15kW. A1 and A2 motorbikes are also covered.

B1

Motor vehicles with four wheels with a maximum weight of 550kg if they are designed for carrying goods, or 400 kg if they are not carrying a load.

B

A standard car. If you passed your test after 1st January 1997, you can drive vehicles with a maximum combined weight of 3500kg and eight passenger seats. You can also drive motor tricycles with a power output over 15kW if you are over 21. If you passed before 1st January 1997, you can drive a combined weight of 8250kg, and a minibus with a trailer over 750kg.

C1

Vehicles with a maximum weight between 3,500 and 7,500 kg, with a trailer up to 750kg.

C

Vehicles over 3,500kg, with a trailer up to 750kg.

D1

Vehicles with no more than 16 passenger seats, a maximum length of 8 metres, and a trailer up to 750kg.

D

Any bus with more than eight passenger seats, with a trailer up to 750kg.

BE

Vehicle with maximum weight of 3,500kg with a trailer.

C1E

C1 category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg, however the combined weight cannot exceed 12,000kg.

CE

Category C vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.

D1E

Category D1 vehicles with a trailer over 750kg, yet the combined weight cannot exceed 12,000kg.

DE

Category D vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.

F

Agricultural tractors.

K

Mowing machines and pedestrian-controlled vehicles.

Q

Two and three wheeled vehicles without pedals, with a maximum engine size of 50cc and speed of 15mph.

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