Though a driver’s licence is something that you’ll have along with you almost every single day, people don’t know much about this tiny little card. The categories at the back of your card may not be the most interesting thing to look at, but if you are curious, there’s a lot to know about them. The main reason behind people skipping out categories and codes other than the highway code is the difficulty and confusion that involves this topic. In this article, we have made an effort to simplify them for you, read on to know more.
Standard UK Licence Categories
These are the basic categories under which driving licences in the UK are divided.
The AM category
Under this category, you can drive vehicles with 2 or 3 wheels with a design speed from 15.5 mph to 28 mph. Quad bikes that are about 350 kgs which do not run on electricity or batteries and have a speed of 15.5 mph to 28 mph are also included within the AM category. If you are looking to get this category licence, you’ll also need to clear the compulsory basic training test to start driving these vehicles.
The B category
This category is for driving cars, with a driver’s licence in category B, you can drive any car out there with up to 3500 kg mass and about 8 passenger seats. For everyone that’s over 21, you can also drive motor tricycles with more than 15kW power output. You can also drive motor tricycles that have an A1 or A requirement.
The F category
Most of the standard driver’s licences out there have an F category which basically enables you to legally drive any agricultural tractor.
The K category
With a K category licence, you are permitted to run any vehicle that needs you to walk behind it for controlling the vehicle. A good example of such a machine is a lawnmower.
The Q category
Under the category Q licence, you can legally drive any two-wheeler that has an engine size less than 50cc and a design speed less than 15.5 mph.
Categories That you May Already Have
These are some of the categories that you may already have on your driver’s licence, take a look at the backside of your licence to know more.
If your driver’s licence is a slightly older one, you’ll most likely have the category B1 on it which basically permits you to drive a four-wheeler that weighs anywhere between 400 to 550 kg.
For all of you folks that have passed the driver’s licence test prior to 1st January 1997, you can drive vehicles with trailers with an overall weight between 3,500 and 8,250 kg. If you’ve taken the test after 1st January 1997, you will have to pass another test for driving vehicles with trailers with a combined weight of above 3,500 kg.
B auto category
The category B auto is a category used instead of the B category that enables you to drive an automatic car but not a manual one.
This is an old category that seems to be found in a few licences today, this category licence permits you to drive 2 wheeler vehicles with a design speed of 31 mph and an engine size of about 50cc. In newer licences, the category P is combined with the category AM.
Categories that Require Taking an Additional Test
If you need any of the below category licences, then you’ll definitely need to take an additional test for it.
This category allows you to drive light motorbikes that have an engine size of about 125cc and a power output of 11kW. With category A1 you can also drive motor tricycles with a power output of about 15kW.
You can drive vehicles with a power to weight ratio above 0.2kW/kg ratio and a power output above 35kW with a category A licence.
With an AM category licence, you can drive 2 wheeler or 3 wheeler motors with speeds between 15.5 mph to 28 mph. You can also drive quad bikes with the same speed and weight below 350kg.
Eligibility to drive vehicles above 3,500 kg of weight with a trailer of 750kg.
Eligibility to drive vehicles from 3,500 to 7,500 kg weight with a trailer of 750kg.
With this category, you are permitted to tow a trailer of about 750 kg but the overall weight shouldn’t be more than 1,200 kg and the trailer shouldn’t be heavier than the vehicle.
You are entitled to category C and can tow a trailer of about 750 kg.
A D category licence allows you to drive a bus with more than 8 passenger seats and you can tow a trailer of more than 750kg.
Eligibility to drive a minibus with 16 passengers and 8 meters in length, permission to tow a trailer up to 750kg.
Entitlement to drive a D1 category vehicle with a trailer of more than 750kg weight but the overall weight should not exceed 12,000kg
Permits you to drive a D category vehicle with a trailer of more than 750kg weight.
Drivers licence codes
While the driver’s licence categories establish the entitlement for driving, the driver’s licence codes set up a few conditions you’ll need to meet before driving. There are a ton of driver’s licence codes out there but we’ll mention the most common ones below.
01 – Eyesight correction (Eg: contact lenses or glasses)
02 – hearing or communication aid
43 – modified driving seats
101 – not to reward or hire (to not make a profit)
115 – organ donor
Driving Licence Codes Explained
In addition to the categories on your licence, you may also notice numbered codes. These can be understood as follows:
01 – eyesight correction, for example, glasses or contact lenses
02 – hearing/communication aid
115 – organ donor
10 – modified transmission
15 – modified clutch
20 – modified braking systems
25 – modified accelerator systems
35 – modified control layouts
40 – modified steering
42 – modified rear-view mirror(s)
43 – modified driving seats
44 – modifications to motorbikes
31 – pedal adaptations and pedal safeguards
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-view mirror(s)
44 (7) – (adjusted) commands (direction indicators, braking light, etc)
44 (8) – seat height allowing the driver, in a sitting position, to have two feet on the surface at the same time and balance the motorcycle during stopping and standing
44 (11) – adapted footrest
44 (12) – adapted hand grip
30 – combined braking and accelerator systems (for licences issued before 28 November 2016)
32 – combined service brake and accelerator systems
33 – combined service brake, accelerator, and steering systems
45 – motorbikes only with sidecar
46 – tricycles only (for licence issued before 29 June 2014)
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-wheel or light quadricycle type
79 (3) – restricted to tricycles
96 – allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer where the trailer weighs at least 750kg, and the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer is between 3,500kg and 4,250kg
97 – not allowed to drive category C1 vehicles which are required to have a tachograph fitted
102 – drawbar trailers only
105 – vehicle, not more than 5.5 meters 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
121 – restricted to conditions specified in the Secretary of State’s notice
70 – exchange of licence
71 – duplicate of the licence
101 – not for hire or reward (that is, not to make a profit)
103 – subject to certificate of competence
118 – start date is for earliest entitlement
119 – weight limit for the vehicle does not apply
122 – valid on successful completion: Basic Moped Training Course 125 – tricycles only (for licences issued before 29 June 2014)
These were all of the important driver’s licence categories in the UK worth knowing. We have also mentioned separate sections for the ones you’ll need to take a test for and the ones you’ll most likely have. Just skim through the categories and if the one you’ll be needing requires a test, do a little research on it and take the test.