Changes to Driver Licensing Rules

Since January 19 2013 new EU rules relating to the licensing of drivers of some vehicles has changed. The changes apply to new drivers taking out either a learner permit or a full licence for the first time. The most common licence held by Irish drivers is for a motorcar, a category B licence - this is not going to change.

The purpose of this information is to explain the new EU changes and how they will affect drivers from January 2013. The EU has a common licensing system, so that an Irish licence can be used in every EU country and other EU licences are valid here in Ireland. The changes to the licensing laws affect all EU countries but there is some flexibility as to how they are applied in some cases. If you have an existing full licence dated before 19 January 2013 to drive a particular vehicle the changes to the rules covering that vehicle do not apply to you, apart from restrictions on motorcycles.

A minor change in the way some licences are described is planned, presently where there is a car/truck/bus and trailer combination it is described as EB, EC, ED etc., from January all new licences will show them as BE, CE, DE etc.

Description of licensing categories from 19 January 2013

What is changing and who does it affect?

The table below sets out information in summary form with greater detail in the links which follow.

EU Licence Changes from 19 January 2013-summary details

What’s Changing  Who will it affect When does it apply
The driving licence will be in a new plastic card format. Any person applying for a first licence or renewing an existing licence or learner permit. All licences/learner permits issued from 19 January 2013. Plastic Card Driving Licence
Motorcycle licences- New stages in the licence process, introduction of a new category of motorcycle, and new rules for progressive and direct access as well as minimum age levels in some cases. Any person who wants to learn to ride a Motorcycle or change to a higher category of motorcycle depending on age.

 All licences issued from 19 January 2013.

Motorcycle Licences

Ages at which you can take out a truck (C & CE) or bus (D or DE) licence or learner permit. People aged under 21(trucks) and 24 (buses) other than those taking the Certificate of Professional Competence taking out a truck or bus licence. All learner permits/full licences issued from 19 January 2013.
Truck/Bus Licence
Renewal for all truck and bus licences every five years with medical report needed in all cases. All full licence holders on renewal of their licence for trucks and buses.

 All licences on renewal from the 19th January 2013.

Truck/Bus Licence

 Additional changes to representative vehicles for truck and bus categories for the practical driving test. Persons taking a driving test in a truck or a bus.

All tests conducted from the 30th   June 2014.

Representative Vehicles for the driving test

New rules for weight of truck, and truck or bus with trailer, for the driving test. Persons taking a driving test in a truck or bus All tests conducted from the 19th January 2013
Real Total Mass
 New rules for weight of car trailer when presenting for the category EB practical driving test. People doing a practical driving test in a car and trailer combination. All tests conducted from 19 January 2013.
Real Total Mass
Changes to licensing rules regarding the limit on the design gross vehicle weight of trailer drawn by the holder of a car and trailer full licence/learner permit category EB. People who get a learner permit/full licence from 19th January 2013 in Category EB (car and trailer). All licences and learner permits issued from 19 January 2013.
Car and trailer licences

 For more information on each of these items, please click on the links above.  These will provide you with more information and frequently asked questions which may address any queries you have.  If you have a query which is not addressed in this information, please contact us by emailing info@ndls.ie or LoCall number 1890 40 60 40.

More information