In the United Kingdom, a driving licence is the official document which authorises its holder to operate motor vehicles on highways and other public roads. It is administered in England, Scotland and Wales by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and in Northern Ireland by the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA). A driving licence is required in England, Scotland, and Wales for any person driving a vehicle on any highway or other “road”, as defined in s.192 Road Traffic Act 1988.
Provisional licences and learner drivers
Applications for a provisional driving licence can be made in the UK from the age of 15 years and 9 months. Once a United Kingdom driving test has been passed, the driving licence is valid for driving a moped or light quad bike from age 16, and a car from age 17, or 16 for those who receive, or have applied for, the higher or enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP or DLA.
The conditions attached to provisional licences for a particular category of vehicle are;
D plate (Wales)
- L-plates or (in Wales only) D-plates (Welsh: Dysgwr) must be conspicuously displayed on the front and rear of the vehicle.
- Learner drivers of a particular category and transmission type of vehicle must be accompanied by somebody aged 21 or above who has held a full driving licence for that category and transmission type for at least three years, except in the case of solo motorcycles and vehicles of certain categories designed solely for one person.
- No trailer may be towed, except when driving a tractor or where a full licence gives provisional entitlement to drive a car with trailer, large goods vehicle with trailer or passenger carrying vehicle with trailer.
- Motorcycle riders must not carry any pillion passengers.
- Coach or bus drivers must not carry any passenger except a person giving or receiving instruction.
- Motorways must not be used by holders of car and motorcycle provisional licences, excluding category B (car) licence holders who are learner drivers for the purposes of the trailer category BE, or unless supervised by an Approved Driving Instructor
Newly qualified drivers
There are no restrictions on newly qualified drivers in England, Wales or Scotland, but if a newly qualified driver receives six penalty points within two years of passing, the licence is automatically revoked and the driver must pass the full test again. These six points remain on the new licence until their designated expiry time.
What is a Full Driving Licence?
The Full Driving Licence enables individuals to drive regular passenger vehicles within Category B (i.e. vehicles below 3.5 tonnes). Having a Driving Licence is an important life skill which gives you the freedom to operate a vehicle when required. The Full Driving Licence is issued by DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and is valid until you are 70 years old, although you are required to renew the photocard every 10 years. There are many jobs that require a Full Driving Licence such as Taxi and Uber Drivers, Real Estate Agents and Delivery Drivers.
To be eligible for a Full Driving Licence, you must be at least 17 years of age and have passed both the theory test and the practical test. You must also have no medical conditions that will affect your ability to drive safely. To learn more, please see guidance provided by the government.