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Driving test information

Driving practical test

1. Minimum ages and rules for learner drivers and riders
Before applying for driving practical test, you need to pass driving theory test. Before you learn to drive or ride a new vehicle make sure you know about the rules and restrictions that apply to you. Different vehicles have different minimum ages and restrictions for dsa test.
2. Rules for learner drivers
Before you start to drive, you must:
  • Hold a valid, provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland
  • Make sure that any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured
  • If you want to practise your driving with an accompanying driver, the accompanying driver must be over the age of 21 and must have held (and still hold) a full licence for three years.
  • As a learner driver you must display 'L' plates ('L' or 'D' plates in Wales) in a conspicuous position on the front and rear of the vehicle you are driving.
3. Minimum age you can take a test
You can take your theory test once your provisional licence becomes valid.
Normally, for car drivers, the earliest date your provisional licence can become valid is your 17th birthday, however you can apply for the licence up to three months before your 17th birthday. So, if you apply for your provisional licence before you are 17 you will still have to wait until your birthday before you can take your theory test.
Disability living allowance
If you are receiving disability living allowance at the higher rate your provisional licence will come into effect when you are 16, but you can apply for it within three months of your 16th birthday.
Motorcyclists Direct access scheme
Direct access is a scheme, which allows a person over the age of 21 to avoid the two year/25 kW restriction by taking a test on a machine of at least 35 kW (46.6 bhp). A pass allows you to ride any size of bike. Any instruction given on a machine that exceeds the normal learner motorcycle specification must be supervised at all times by a certified motorcycle instructor who should be in radio contact. You should also wear fluorescent or reflective clothing and follow all other provisional licence restrictions.
Accelerated access
Riders who reach the age of 21, while still within the two year period where they are restricted to maximum 25 kW (33 bhp) machines, but who wish to ride larger bikes need to pass a further test on a motorcycle of at least 35 kW (46.6 bhp). They may practise on bikes over 25 kW (33 bhp) under the same practice conditions for direct access riders. You will revert to learner status while practising (on a motorcycle greater than 25 kW (33 bhp) although test failure will not affect your existing licence.
Mopeds and tractors
If you want to ride a moped you can take your theory test when you are 16, but again you must make sure you have a valid provisional licence. If you are 16 and already have a provisional licence for an agricultural vehicle or a moped, this will give you provisional entitlement to drive a car when you are 17.
4. Vehicle requirements
The minimum test vehicle standards for a car also apply to a car and trailer test, with additional requirements for the trailer. Vehicles that do not meet the minimum test vehicle requirements are not suitable for the purpose of taking a test, and your test may be cancelled with loss of fee.
Test vehicle requirements for a car test and car and trailer test

Category B - cars and vans
Cars or vans presented for test must be:
  • A four wheeled vehicle of no more than 3500 kilograms (kg) maximum authorised mass (MAM)
  • Capable of a speed of at least 100 kilometres per hour (km/h) or 62.5 miles per hour (mph)
  • The car or van must also be fitted with:
    1. A seatbelt for the examiner
    2. A passenger head restraint, this need not be adjustable but must be fitted as an integral part of the seat - 'slip on' type head
      restraints are not permitted
    3. An interior mirror for the examiner's use
  • L-plates displayed on the front and rear of the vehicle but not interfering with the driver's or examiner's view
  • A speedometer that measures speed in miles per hour and kilometres per hour
  • The vehicle must be legal and roadworthy and have no warning lights showing i.e. the airbag warning light.
Category B1
A motor powered tricycle or quadricycle must have an unladen weight of not more than 550 kg and be capable of at least 60 km/h (37.25 mph).
Category B + E - car and trailer
Cars or vans presented for test must be a category B vehicle towing a suitably braked, unladen trailer of at least one tonne MAM. The examiner may ask for evidence of the trailer MAM, for example the manufacturer's plate. All vehicle combinations must operate on appropriate brakes and utilise a coupling arrangement suitable for the weight.
Please note:
Irrespective of the date vehicles were first registered, from 1 April 2006 externally mounted, nearside and offside mirrors for use by the examiner or any person supervising the test must be fitted. In the case of a category B+E vehicle first used on or after the 1 October 2003 the following additional standards will apply:
The cargo compartment of the trailer must consist of a closed box body which is at least as wide and as high as the towing vehicle; the closed box body may also be slightly less wide than the towing vehicle provided that the view to the rear is only possible by use of the external rear-view

Crown copyright material has been reproduced by permission of the Driving Standards Agency which does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the reproduction.