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What Can I Drive? The Standard UK Driving Licence

Have you ever sat down and carefully examined what your standard Driving Licence allows you to drive. I would recommend that everyone takes the time to do this. I recently studied my paper licence and was surprised to find out what vehicles my standard driving licence permits me to drive.


Never place reliance upon someone else’s view as to what you are entitled to drive. What your standard Driving Licence permits you to drive may vary to that of your friends or relatives due to changes to entitlements made over the years by the DVLA that affect licences yet to be issued but not existing licences.

What your standard licence allows you to drive will depend upon the date/year that you passed your test, your age, and certain other restrictions. You must read your Driving Licence Counterpart carefully and liaise with DVLA if you are unsure as to what you are entitled to drive.

The importance of getting it right!

If you assume wrongly that you can drive a particular vehicle on a road (a moped or a van for example) it may well be that the first person to set you straight is the police officer who pulls you over.

In that event you are likely to be charged with Driving without a Licence which is an offence contrary to Section 87 (1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This carries obligatory endorsement and 3 to 6 penalty points with the possibility of a discretionary disqualification.

Contact our Solicitor to find out in what circumstances the offence is treated as being ‘fine only’ without penalty points or endorsement.

Driving without a Licence may also invalidate your insurance policy resulting in you being charged with Driving without Insurance an offence contrary to section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which carries 6 to 8 penalty points or a discretionary ban.

Therefore if you are moving house and you need to drive a van or if your employer would like you to drive a class of vehicle you do not normally drive make sure you get your licence out and study the information contained on the back of it.

What Can I Drive On My Licence?

If you (like me) passed your test between June 1990 and December 1996 your standard driving licence should permit you to drive; Well, a car! That is, a Category B vehicle.

The majority of standard driving licences will allow you to drive a vehicle that falls within Category B.

Category B

Category B allows you to drive vehicles up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) with up to 8 passenger seats.

This will allow you to drive anything from a 2 door Ford Fiesta to a 7 seater Land Rover Discovery which weighs approx 2150 kg.


It is often asked “can I drive with a trailer?” or “can I tow a caravan?” You can tow a trailer of up to 750kg. You can tow heavier trailers and caravans if the total weight of vehicle and trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg

Let’s take a look at that. A 4th berth caravan can weigh anywhere between 800 kg to 1.5 tonnes. Therefore: –

  • Land Rover: 2150kg
  • Caravan: 1341kg (sample unladen weight)
  • Total weight: 3491kg

This would be fine (just about) as the total weight does not exceed 3500kg.

Can I Ride a Motorbike? Category P

Again the standard driving licence no longer covers the use of mopeds. New drivers have to take CBT before they can use such a vehicle on the road.

Essentially is a motorcycle that does not exceed 30 mph. Looks cool but you cannot take it down the M62 to Manchester to join your fellow mods as you cannot use a moped on the motorway.


My Licence does not allow me to drive a motorcycle. To do so I would have to take the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) test and the practical and theory tests. This includes: –

  • A small motorbike with 125cc engine (Cat A1) which will do speeds in excess of 60mph.
  • A medium sized motorbike with a 35kw power output (Cat A2) that will travel over 70mph.
  • Or the large powerful bikes (Cat A) that go well over 100mph.

Category AM allows you to drive 2-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed of over 15.5mph but not more than 28mph. This category also includes light quad bikes that meet the aforementioned speed criteria and have an unladen mass of not more than 350kg (not including batteries if it’s an electric vehicle). But again, you would have to take CBT before you can use such a vehicle on the road.

Can I Drive a Large Van? Category C1

Namely a motor vehicle used for the carriage of goods whose MAM exceeds 3.5 tonnes but does not exceed 7.5 tonnes. Subject to a minimum age requirement of 18 yrs. This allows me to drive the Luton Body Van which I did warily on the day we moved house.

If I had passed my driving test after the 1st January 1997 I would have to apply for a Provisional Medium Sized Vehicle Entitlement and take the C1 test before I could drive such a vehicle on the road.

Perhaps for good reason the standard driving licence would no longer allow you to drive such a large vehicle.

Can I Drive a Minibus? Category D1

Again, like category C1, if I had passed my driving test after the 1st January 1997 I would have to take further tests (PCV minibus theory, medical and practical tests) to obtain category D1. Namely a motor vehicle that is used for carriage of passengers with more than eight seats but no more than 16 in addition to the the drivers seat. Otherwise known as a Mini Bus!


However you may drive a minibus with up to 16 seats only in the UK provided that you will be driving on behalf of a non-commercial body for social purposes, but not for hire or reward unless under a permit. You will also need to be over 21 years of age and have held a car (category B) licence for at least 2 years. The minibus must not exceed more than 3.5 tonnes (3500 kg). In addition to that you would not be able to drive for ‘hire or reward’ (you can’t be paid to drive).

Other vehicles I can drive

I can drive an Agricultural Tractor, a Mowing Machine and an Electric Vehicle. So if you need some bales of hay moving give me a shout!


This is essentially what I can drive with my standard Driving Licence. I am 40 years old and passed my Driving test when I was 17 years of age. I can drive more vehicles on my Licence than what a newly qualified driver passing their test today can.

As mentioned at the beginning of this piece there has been a number of changes over the years to what your standard Driving Licence allows you to drive. We recommend that you take 5 minutes or so to study the entitlements on your licence.

For further information we recommend the following websites: –

If you are currently facing Investigation or Prosecution regarding any Motoring Offence call your Motoring Law Specialist Mr Gary Bryan on 0333 011 0515 or contact us through our enquiry page.

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