Explained is how to tell if a driving licence is automatic

How to Tell if a Driving Licence is Automatic

If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between a manual and automatic licence, you need to turn it over and look at the codes on the back of the licence. We’ll no go through what these columns, codes and numbers mean so you’ll know how to tell if a driving licence is automatic.

  1. This column displays the various driving licence categories that are available, most of which require additional training and tests to be completed. Alongside the categories are pictograms that depict the type of vehicle represented by the category.
  2. This column details the date in which a particular category is valid from. From the image of this automatic driving licence, we can see that this driver is licensed to drive five difference categories:
    • AM: Moped
    • B: Car
    • fkq: f, k and q represents three different categories (see below)
  3. This column displays the dates in which a particular category is valid till.
  4. The numbers in this column represent restriction codes. This column is how you can tell if a driving licence is automatic. Code number 78 in the licence category B means this driver is restricted to vehicles with automatic transmission. For a manual licence, there will be no code number / restrictions within the B category.
  5. On a driving licence, fkq stands for the following categories:
    • f: Agricultural tractor.
    • k: Mowing machine or pedestrian-controlled vehicle.
    • q: 2-wheeled and 3-wheeled vehicles without pedals and with an engine size not more than 50 cc if powered by an internal combustion engine and a maximum speed of no more than 25 km/h (15.5 mph).

Driving Licences with More Categories

You may have noticed that some driving licences have more driver entitled categories, even though they haven’t passed any additional tests.

This is because test candidates that passed the driving test before January 1st 1997 automatically acquired the extra licence categories BE, C1, C1E, D1 and D1E.  Drivers that passed the test after this date would have far fewer category entitlements and limited to AM, B, f, k and m. 

In order to drive the vehicles that would have automatically had entitlement on a driver’s licence prior to January 1st 1997, a driver must now pass a test for that category of vehicle.

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