New Rules For Vehicles From 2013

New rules for vehicles you can drive and minimum ages

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New rules on age restrictions for driving come into force on 19 January 2013.

These changes include the age when you can drive certain vehicles and the types of vehicles you can drive in some categories. Find out how these changes could affect you.

Existing driving licence holders

If you already have a driving licence, you'll keep your entitlements to drive the different types of vehicles shown on your driving licence.

If you want to drive or pass a test for additional vehicles on or after 19 January 2013, you'll come under the new rules.

New drivers from 19 January 2013

New drivers will have to meet the new minimum age for driving vehicles. The new category descriptions will apply to you if you learn to drive or pass a driving test on or after 19 January 2013.

The minimum age for driving medium and large goods and or passenger carrying vehicles (categories C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E, D, and DE) applies to non-professional driving only.

For professional driving, some of these vehicles can be driven at a younger age if the driver has a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification. 

The age limits for driving cars and cars towing trailers will not change.

The tables below show what you can drive at what age under the new rules from 19 January 2013.

Moped and light quadricycle

CategoryDescriptionMinimum age
P* Motor vehicles with less than four wheels with a maximum design speed exceeding 45km/h but not exceeding 50km/h and which, is propelled by an internal combustion engine, has a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50cc 16
Q*,** Motor vehicles with less than four wheels which are propelled by an internal combustion engine, has a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50cc and, if not equipped with pedals by means of which the vehicle is capable of being propelled, has a maximum design speed not exceeding 25km/h 16
AM** Two or three-wheel vehicles with a maximum design speed of not more than 45km/h 16
AM** With an unladen mass of not more than 350kg, not including the mass of the batteries in case of electric vehicles, whose maximum design speed is not more than 45km/h 16

* National category only.

** New category.

Motorcycles and tricycles

CategoryDescriptionMinimum age
A1* A motorcycle with a cylinder capacity not exceeding 125cc, of a power not exceeding 11kW and with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.1kW per kg 17
A1* A motor tricycle with power not exceeding 15kW 17
A2** A motorcycle of a power not exceeding 35kW, with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2kW per kg and not being derived from a vehicle
of more than double its power
19
A* A motorcycle of a power exceeding 35kW or with a power to weight ratio exceeding 0.2kW per kg 24***
A* A motor tricycle with a power exceeding 15kW 24

*New category description.

** New category.

***Age 21 if you have two years' experience on an A2 motorcycle and you pass a further practical test.

Four wheeled light vehicles

CategoryDescriptionMinimum age
B1 Motor vehicles with four wheels up to 550kg unladen and invalid carriages 17*

* Age 16 if you are getting Disability Living Allowance (mobility allowance) at the higher rate.

Cars

The term maximum authorised mass (MAM) means the total weight of the vehicle plus the maximum load it can carry safely.

CategoryDescriptionMinimum age 
B Motor vehicles with a MAM not exceeding 3500kg and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer up to 750kg 17*
B Motor vehicles with a MAM not exceeding 3500kg and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer over 750kg, where the combination MAM is not exceeding 4250kg 17**
B+E Combinations of vehicles consisting of a vehicle in category B and a trailer, where the combination does not come within category B and the MAM of the trailer or semi-trailer does not exceed 3500kg 17*

*Age 16 if you are getting Disability Living Allowance (mobility allowance) at the higher rate.

**New element of category B (UK will not be taking this up. To drive vehicles within this definition, entitlement B+E will be needed).

Medium sized vehicles with or without trailers

CategoryDescriptionMinimum age
C1** Vehicles between 3500kg and 7500kg, and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer up to 750kg  18*
C1+E** Vehicles between 3500kg and 7500kg with a trailer over 750kg, and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer over 750kg – combined weight not more than 12000kg  21*

*Age 18 if combination weight is under 7500kg.

**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).

Large goods vehicles with or without trailers

CategoriesDescription Minimum age 
C Vehicles over 3500kg with a trailer up to 750kg, and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer up to 750kg 21*
C+E Vehicles over 3500kg, and designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer over 750kg 21*

*You can drive at age 17 if a member of the armed services.

**You can drive at 18 if one of the following apply:

  • you passed your driving test and Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) Initial Qualification
  • you are learning to drive or taking a driving test for this category or Driver CPC Initial Qualification
  • you are taking a national vocational training course to get a Driver CPC Initial Qualification
  • you had your driving licence before 10 September 2009, you must take the CPC periodic training within five years of this date

Minibuses with or without trailers

CategoryDescriptionMinimum ages
D1 Vehicles with no more than 16 passenger seats in addition to the driver and with a maximum length not exceeding 8 meters  21*,**,***,****
D1+E Vehicles with no more than 16 passenger seats in addition to the driver and with a maximum length not exceeding 8 meters, provided that the MAM of the combination thus formed does not exceed 12000kg, and the MAM of the trailer does not exceed the unladen mass of the towing vehicle 21*,**,***,****

*New category description

**You can drive at 17 if member of armed forces.

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

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

2) Having passed a PCV driving test and Driver CPC initial qualification, you can drive under any of the following conditions:

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

3) 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 50 km
  • not engaged in the carriage of passengers
  • driving a vehicle of a class included in sub-category D1

****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.

Buses with or without trailers

CategoryDescription Minimum age 
D Any bus designed and constructed for the carriage of more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer up to 750kg 24*,**,***,****,*****
D+E Any bus designed and constructed for the carriage of more than eight passengers in addition to the driver, with a trailer over 750kg 24*,**,***,****,*****

*New Minimum age

**New category description

***You can drive at 17 if member of armed forces.

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

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

2) Having passed a PCV driving test and Driver CPC initial qualification, you can drive under any of the following conditions:

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

3) 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 50 km
  • not engaged in the carriage of passengers
  • driving a vehicle of a class included in sub-category D1

*****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.

Other Categories

CategoryDescriptionMinimum age 
F Agricultural tractors 17*
G Road rollers 21**
H Tracked vehicles 21***,****
K Mowing machines or vehicles controlled by someone on foot 16

*At 16 you can drive tractors less than 2.45m wide. It must only pull trailers less than 2.45m wide with two wheels, or four wheels that are close-coupled.

**At 17 you can drive small roadrollers with metal or hard rollers. They must not be steam powered, weigh more than 11.69 tonnes or be made for carrying loads.

***You can drive at 17 if the maximum authorised mass of the tracked vehicle is not more than 3,500kg.

****You can drive at age 17 if a member of the armed services.