Decoding driving licences
Have you ever studied the back of your UK driving licence? You might feel compelled to now we've mentioned it, and if you do, you'll see among images of different types of transport, there are some numbers under section 12. But what do they mean?
Cracking the codes
The so-called 'information codes' under section 12 of your driving licence correspond to the conditions you need to meet in order to drive. These might be general conditions, like rules on driving certain types of vehicle. Or they could relate to you personally – for instance, if a visual impairment means you need to wear glasses behind the wheel.
Learn the codes or risk a fine
It's a good idea to get to grips with the codes on the back of your driving licence and make sure you follow them. If you're caught ignoring the codes, like driving without glasses despite declaring you need to wear them, you could receive a £100 on-the-spot fine from the police.
Depending on the severity of the offence, your fine could be increased to £1,000. You could also get penalty points on your licence or be taken to court.
The most common driving licence codes
Here are 10 of the most common codes found of the back of UK driving licences, and their meanings:
- 01 – eyesight correction, for instance glasses or contact lenses
- 02 – hearing/communication aid
- 40 – modified steering
- 101 – not for hire or reward (meaning, not to make a profit)
- 105 – vehicle no more than 5.5 metres long
- 106 – restricted to automatic vehicles
- 107 – not more than 8,250 kilograms
- 111 – limited to 16 passenger seats
- 115 – organ donor
- 122 – valid on successful completion: Basic Moped Training Course 125 – tricycles only (for licences issued before 29 June 2014).
Some codes might be different in Northern Ireland – you can find the full list on the Gov.UK website.
Updating your driving licence
The onus is on you to let the DVLA know about any changes that affect the information or conditions on your driving licence.
This might include your title and surname if you recently got married, or your address if you've moved home. Even temporary addresses must be registered with the DVLA, for instance if you're a student living in university halls. You can change the address on either your full driving licence or provisional licence online or by post.
Failure to update your licence is a separate offence to ignoring the codes, but you could still end up paying a fine of up to £1,000.
If you develop a medical condition or your eyesight or hearing deteriorates, again, you need to tell the DVLA and have your licence updated. Check if a health condition affects your driving using this A-Z list.
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