Fleet News

Driving Licence categories

To be able to drive a particular type of vehicle, you need an ‘entitlement’ for that category on your driving licence.

There is a lot of misunderstanding relating to photocard licence expiry dates, the need to use tachographs and the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC).

However, the biggest issue concerns so-called ‘Acquired Rights’ or ‘Grandfather Rights’ which relate to new legislation introduced in January 1997.

The big change was in the type of driving licence drivers obtained once they passed their practical car driving test.

If you passed your practical car test (licence category B) before January 1, 1997, you also acquired licence categories BE, C1, C1E, D1 and D1E (see below for entitlements).

However, drivers who passed their car test after January 1, 1997, receive a driving licence with entitlement to drive category B vehicles only. To drive vehicles that fall within the additional categories listed above additional driving tests have to be taken.

The categories (source: Gov.uk):

Mopeds

Category AM

You can drive 2-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed of over 25km/h but not more than 45km/h.

This category also includes light quad bikes with:

  • unladen mass of not more than 350kg (not including batteries if it’s an electric vehicle)
  • maximum design speed of over 25km/h but not more than 45km/h

Category P

You can drive 2-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed of over 45km/h but not more than 50km/h.

If it’s powered by an internal combustion engine its engine size must not be more than 50cc.

Category Q

You can drive 2-wheeled vehicles with:

  • an engine size not more than 50cc if powered by an internal combustion engine
  • a maximum design speed of no more than 25km/h

Motorcycles

Category A1

You can drive light motorbikes with:

  • an engine size up to 125cc
  • a power output of up to 11kW
  • a power to weight ratio not more than 0.1kW/kg

This category also includes motor tricycles with power output up to 15kW.

Category A2

You can drive motorbikes with a:

  • power output up to 35kW
  • power to weight ratio not more than 0.2kW/kg

The motorbike must also not be derived from a vehicle of more than double its power.

Category A

You can drive:

  • motorbikes with a power output more than 35kW or a power to weight ratio more than 0.2kW/kg
  • motor tricycles with a power output more than 15kW

Light vehicles and quad bikes

Category B1

You can drive motor vehicles with 4 wheels up to 400kg unladen or 550kg if they’re designed for carrying goods.

Cars

Category B

You can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) with up to 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg).

You can also tow heavier trailers if the total weight of vehicle and trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg. The fully loaded trailer can’t weigh more than the unladen vehicle.

Physically disabled drivers with provisional category B entitlement will also have provisional entitlement to ride category A1 or A motor tricycles.

Able-bodied drivers can no longer ride motor tricycles with a provisional category B licence.

Category B auto

You can drive a category B vehicle - but only an automatic one.

Category B+E

You can drive a category B vehicle with a trailer when they have a combined weight over 3,500kg.

Medium-sized vehicles

Category C1

You can drive vehicles weighing between 3,500 and 7,500kg (with a trailer up to 750kg).

Category C1+E

You can drive C1 category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg, but the trailer - when fully loaded - can’t weigh more than the vehicle.

The combined weight of both can’t exceed 12,000kg.

Large vehicles

Category C

You can drive vehicles over 3,500kg (with a trailer up to 750kg).

Category C+E

You can drive category C vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.

Minibuses

Category D1

You can drive vehicles with:

  • no more than 16 passenger seats
  • a maximum length not more than 8 metres
  • a trailer up to 750kg

Category D1+E

You can drive D1 category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg, but the trailer - when fully loaded - can’t weigh more than the vehicle.

The combined weight of both can’t exceed 12,000kg.

Buses

Category D

You can drive any bus with more than 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg).

Category D+E

You can drive D category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.

Other categories

Category

Vehicle you can drive

F

Agricultural tractor

G

Road roller

H

Tracked vehicles

K

Mowing machine or pedestrian-controlled vehicle

L

Electrically-propelled vehicle

 



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Comments

  • frank kembery - 22/10/2014 11:56

    i had a driving licence since 1980 can I drive a flat bed lorry and what weight can I with out breaking the law ??

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  • Max Hodge - 21/01/2016 16:35

    Hello I have cat n on my licence, does this mean I can ride a tax exempt (pre75) motorcycle? Many thanks. Max

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    • Iain Marsh - 10/08/2016 14:08

      I've been wondering this too. A reply from an expert would be appreciated. I tried to pin DVLA down on this and they refused to provide an answer. Odd, given that they are in charge of the issuing of driving licences.

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