Rules of the Road
CAUTION UPDATING
To Road Traffic Laws as at 1 March 2013

Driving School Ireland,
Phone 071 9162311 or 087 6688797

Driving licences and categories of vehicles

Section 1

 

You must hold a current driving licence or a learner permit before driving any motor vehicle in a public place. You can drive only the type of vehicle for which you hold a licence / permit. And you must carry your driving licence / learner permit at all times when driving.

 

This section describes when and how to apply for or renew a driving licence. It also describes the different categories of vehicle to which the licences apply.

 

Categories of vehicles and minimum age for a first learner permit.


The following table outlines the types of vehicle you may drive under each category of licence / permit and the age you must reach before applying for a first learner permit in the relevant category.

 

Categories of Vehicles/Minimum Age of Driver/Restrictions

Cat-
egory
Vehicle Mini-
mum
Age

moped speed less than 45 kph

AM Mopeds. Light quad-
ricycles.
16

motorcycle

A1 Motor-
cycles with an engine capacity not exceeding 125 cubic centimetres, with a power rating not exceeding 11 kW and with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.1 kW/kg. Motor tri-
cycles with a power rating not exceeding 15 kW.
16

motorcycle

A2 motor-
cyces with a power rating not exceeding 35 kW, with a power to weight ratio not exceeding 0.2 kW/kg and not derived from a vehicle of more than double its power.
18

motorcycle

A motor-
cyces Motor tricycles
24 years or 20 with prog-
ressive access

car

B Vehicles (other than motor-
cyces, mopeds, work vehicles or land tractors) having a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) not exceeding 3,500 kg, having passenger acc-
ommodation for not more than 8 persons and where the MAM weight of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg. Quadricycles (other than those covered by AM) are also covered by this category.
17

car and trailer

BE com-
bination of drawing vehicles in category B and trailer where the MAM of the trailer is not greater than 3,500 kg.
17

tractor

W Work vehicles and land tractors 16

rigid lorry

C Vehicles (other than work vehicles or land tractors) having a MAM exceeding 3,500 kg, having passenger acc-
ommodation for not more than 8 persons and where the MAM of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.
21 years or 18 with CPC

artic lorry

CE com-
bination of drawing vehicles in category C and trailer where the MAM of the trailer is greater than 750 kg.
21 years or 18 with CPC

truck

C1 Vehicles in category C having a MAM weight not exceeding 7,500 kg, having passenger acc-
ommodation for not more than 8 persons and where the MAM of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.
18

lorry and trailer

C1E com-
bination of drawing vehicles in category C1 and trailer where the MAM of the trailer is greater than 750 kg and where the MAM of the drawing vehicle and trailer combined does not exceed 12,000 kg.
com-
bination of drawing vehicles in category B with trailer where the MAM of the trailer is greater than 3,500 kg and where the MAM of the drawing vehicle and trailer combined does not exceed 12,000 kg.
18

bus

D Vehicles having passenger acc-
ommodation for more than 8 persons and where the MAM of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.
24 years or 21 years with CPC

bus and trailer

DE com-
bination of drawing vehicles in category D and trailer where the MAM of the trailer is greater than 750 kg.
24 years or 21 years with CPC

mini bus

D1 Vehicles in category D having passenger acc-
ommodation for not more than 16 persons, with a maximum length not exceeding 8 metres and where the MAM of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.
21

mini bus with trailer

D1E com-
bination of drawing vehicles in category D1 and trailer where the MAM of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.
21

If you are under 16 years of age you must not use any vehicle in a public place.


Design Gross Vehicle Weight (DGVW) is the term used by manufacturers for the weight of the vehicle together with the maximum load it is designed to carry (including passengers, fuel, cargo and attachments). The design gross vehicle weight is usually shown on a metal plate attached to the vehicle by the manufacturer. This may also be referred to as the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM).


You must understand the carrying capacity of your vehicle or you are at serious risk of having a crash or causing harm. Overloading will reduce your ability to control your vehicle and is an offence.


Conditions attached to categories


motor-
cyces

Category A learner permit holders are entitled to drive motor-
cyces with:

  • An engine power output of 35kW or less, or
  • A power / weight ratio of 0.16kW/kg or less.

The restriction applies for as long as you hold a learner permit for this category.


It is your responsibility to check the power of the motorcycle. If you are in any doubt, consult with the dealer / manufacturer.


Trailers


Cars and trailers

If you hold a Full category B licence, you may tow a trailer only if:


  • the total maximum authorised mass (MAM) of the trailer is 750kg or less, or
  • the unladen (empty) weight of your towing vehicle is at least the same as the trailer's MAM, and the combined MAM of the vehicle and trailer is no more than 3,500kg.

When using a car to tow a heavier trailer, you must hold a category BE licence.


Heavier vehicles and trailers

You must hold a Category CE, C1E, DE or D1E Licence if you want to tow a heavier trailer. These are the licences that entitle you to drive the com-
binations of the towing vehicles and the trailer (see page 12). Equivalent licences issued before 19 January 2013 are EC, EC1, ED or ED1.


Bus

artic lorry

Heavy goods vehicles and buses

You must obey the law on tachographs. For full information please see www.rsa.ie.

Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC)

What is Driver CPC?


Driver CPC is a Certificate of Professional Competence for professional bus drivers (categories D1, ED1, D and ED) and professional truck drivers (categories C1,EC1, C and EC).

Since 19 January 2013, these categories are known as categories D1, D1E, D and DE, and for professional truck drivers the categories will be known as C1,C1E, C and CE.

Driver CPC was introduced across the EU in 2008 for professional bus drivers and 2009 for professional truck drivers. The three key aims are to:

  • Ensure that all professional drivers have good driving and safety standards and that those standards are maintained throughout their career;
  • Create a common standard for the training and testing of drivers throughout the EU;
  • Reduce fatalities and serious injuries on Irish and European Roads.

The Driver CPC and you


New Professional Driver

To become a professional bus driver after 10 September 2008 or a professional truck driver after 10 September 2009 you must take the following six steps:

  • Pass a driver theory test and obtain a driver theory test certificate for Category C or D as appropriate;
  • Obtain a learner permit in relevant category;
  • Pass a 2-hour multiple choice theory test;
  • Pass a 2-hour case study theory test;
  • Pass a 90-minute practical driving test; and
  • Pass a 30-minute practical test.

Once you have completed these steps, you will be issued with a Driver CPC qualification card.

Driver CPC Theory Tests are conducted by the Driver Theory Test Service [see www.dtts.ie].


The driving test and practical CPC tests are carried out at RSA driving test centres and are usually taken one straight after the other.


Already a Professional Driver

If you were already a professional bus driver/holder of category D licence on 10 September 2008 or a professional truck driver /holder of a Category C licence on 10 September 2009, you are automatically entitled to Driver CPC. This is called 'acquired rights'.


The following vehicles are exempted:

  • Vehicles not allowed to go more than 45 kilometers per hour;
  • Vehicles used or controlled by the armed forces,civil defence, the fire service and forces responsible for maintaining public order;
  • Vehicles undergoing road tests for technical development,repair or maintenance, or of new or rebuilt vehicles which have not been put into service;
  • Vehicles used in states of emergency or for rescue missions;
  • Vehicles used for driving lessons for anyone who wants to get a driving licence or a CPC;
  • Vehicles used for carrying passengers or goods for personal use and not for business; and
  • Vehicles carrying materials or equipment that the driver uses as part of their work, as long as driving the vehicle is not the driver's main activity.

Learner Permit

A learner permit is issued to allow a person to learn to drive. Before you apply for your learner permit you must pass your driver theory test. In the interests of your safety and that of other road users, you must meet certain conditions attached to the learner permit, while you are driving. See Section 2 for more details. A learner permit replaces the provisional licence, which is no longer issued.


You must have a current learner permit to learn to drive and take your driving test. Your permit must be for the same category of vehicle as the one you will use in your test.


 

Driver theory test


The driver theory test applies to anyone applying for a first learner permit.


You must pass the driver theory test before applying for a learner permit.


The test is designed to check your knowledge of topics such as:


  • Rules of the Road
  • Risk perception
  • Eco-driving
  • Hazard awareness
  • Good driving behaviour

The CPC theory test is designed to check your knowledge and understanding of all of the above and of 'safety loading and 'vehicle security'.


The test involves answering questions on a touch screen computer in a test centre. It is carried out by the Driver Theory Test Service.


The driver theory test study materials and CD rom is available from all good book shops and from www.dtts.ie.


You should check that you are using the most up-to-date study material.



All categories of licences are subject to review. To ensure compliance with EU and Irish road safety policy, you are advised to check the website www.rsa.ie. regularly.



Applying for a first Learner Permit

When you apply for a learner permit you must include two signed passport photographs and the fee with your application form. You may also need to give evidence of your identity, unless you already hold a driving licence for another category of vehicle or from another country. The following table outlines what else you will need when applying for a learner permit. The categories of vehicles are described in the table on pages 11 to 13.


First learner permit

CATE-
GORY OF FIRST LEARNER PERMIT
WHAT YOU NEED

motorcycle with or without sidecar
motorcycle
motor car
moped
tractor

AM, A1, A2, A, B, W
  • App-
    lication form
  • Photo-
    graphs (2 signed passport size photos)
  • Fee
  • Theory Test Pass Cert-
    ificate
  • Evidence of Identity
  • Medical report, if applicable
  • Eyesight report


motorcycle
motor car
moped

C1, C, D1 or D
  • app-
    lication form
  • photo-
    graphs (2 signed passport size photos)
  • Fee
  • Theory Test Pass Cert-
    ificate
  • Medical report (all app-
    licants)*
  • Proof of full licence for category B vehicle

car and trailer

EB or BE from 19/1/13
  • app-
    lication form
  • photo-
    graphs (2 signed passport size photos)
  • Fee
  • Theory Test Pass Cert-
    ificate
  • Medical report, if applic-
    able
  • Proof of full licence for category B vehicle

motorcycle with or without sidecar
motorcycle
motor car
moped

EC1, EC, ED1 or ED or CE1, CE, DE1, DE from 19/1/13
  • app-
    lication form
  • photo-
    graphs (2 signed passport size photos)
  • Fee
  • Theory Test Pass Cert-
    ificate
  • Proof of full licence for the app-
    ropriate towing vehicle (for example category C if applying for a category CE licence)

* You will also need to have medical assessments from time to time when you have a full licence for these categories and/or when you renew.


Eyesight and medical reports

  • You can get eyesight and medical report forms from your local motor tax office or from the Road Safety Authority website, www.rsa.ie
  • A registered doctor or ophthalmic optician must fill in the eyesight report form.
  • You must then sign it in front of them.
  • A registered doctor must complete the medical report form.
  • You must then sign it in front of them.

When you must supply a medical report

Not all applicants need to supply a medical report. However, you must supply one if any of the following statements applies to you.

  • You are applying for a learner permit in any of the categories C1, C, D1, D, C1E, CE, D1E or DE.
  • You will be 70 years of age or more on the first day the learner permit is being granted..
  • You have any of the conditions listed in Appendix 1 at the back of the book.
  • You are taking drugs or medications that are likely to affect your driving.

Note;

  1. If you suffer from a serious medical condition, for example irregular or abnormally fast or slow heart beat (arrhythmia) that has ever caused you to lose consciousness, then make sure you visit a doctor before you apply for a learner permit or licence.
  2. You are not allowed to hold a learner permit if you depend on or regularly abuse mind-altering substances.

Talk to your doctor if you have any doubts about your physical or mental fitness to drive.


You can get full details of the conditions attached to provisional licences on the Road Safety Authority website, www.rsa.ie.



Learner permit expiration


No matter what type of motor vehicle you drive, you may get a third and subsequent learner permit only if you show that you have taken a driving test within the previous two years.


If you have not taken the test, you must give either:


  • Evidence of a medical condition that prevented you from taking the test, or
  • Evidence that you applied to sit your driving test for that category of vehicle.

'Six month rule'


If you are a first time holder of a learner permit for categories A, A2, A1, B, AM or W, that is, a person not previously having held a learner permit (or whose learner permit has expired by more than 5 years) in the category, you are not allowed to take a driving test for a six month period after the commencement date of the permit. This provision is to allow you gain experience of driving. Research shows that the longer a learner is supervised while driving, the less likely they are to be involved in a collision.


The 'six month rule' does not apply to category BE (previously EB).


If you have any questions about getting a learner permit contact the RSA on 1890 416141 or visit our website www.rsa.ie.


Full driving licence


You need a full driving licence for the category of vehicle that you intend to drive. You can drive only the category or categories of vehicle for which the licence is issued.




old type licence

New type licence

Applying for your full licence


To apply for your full driving licence, you should send in an application form, two signed photographs, the relevant fee and your current or most recent learner permit.


With the application for your first licence, you must include your certificate of competency to drive (outlined in Section 3). You may also need to supply other documents, such as a medical report, depending on your circumstances. You can get full details from the Road Safety Authority's website, www.rsa.ie.


Renewing your licence


A driving licence is normally valid for 10 years and you should renew your licence before this period passes. To renew your licence, send in the correct form and fee, two signed photographs and your current or most recent licence. If you are renewing a category C1, CE1, C, CE, D1, DE1, D or DE licence, you must include a medical report


You should apply to renew your licence not later than three months before it expires.


You can get full details about driving licences from the Road Safety Authority's website, www.rsa.ie.


Carrying a driving licence


Remember, you must carry your driving licence, or learner permit as appropriate (all categories), with you at all times when you are driving.


Irish check point

Driving legally


Before taking any vehicle on to the road you must be able to answer 'yes' to the following questions:

  • Are you carrying your driving licence or learner permit ?
  • Is the motor vehicle taxed ?
  • Is the tax disc on the windscreen ?
  • Is the insurance cover up to date and valid to cover you ?
  • Is the insurance disc on the windscreen ?
  • If you are learning to drive a category B vehicle that is over four years old but not a taxi, is the vehicle roadworthy and does it have an up-to-date National Car Test (NCT) Certificate on the windscreen ?
  • If you are using a coach, bus, ambulance, goods vehicle or goods trailer and it is over a year old, does it have a Certificate of Roadworthiness?
  • If you are a professional driver are you carrying your CPC qualification card (as required) ?

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO OVERSEAS DRIVERS
You must drive on the left-hand side of the road in Ireland.


car



Tax


All motor vehicles must be taxed before the vehicle is taken on the road.


tax disc



Insurance


All drivers must have insurance covering them to drive a vehicle on a public road. The law imposes a duty on you to inform the insurance company of relevant information before you drive a vehicle. If you are in any doubt you should discuss the matter with the insurance company. It is a serious offence to drive a vehicle that is not insured.


You need to display an up-to-date insurance disc. It is an offence not to have the disc on display.


Vehicles that do not need to display an insurance disc

  • motor-
    cyces (with or without a side car)
  • Tractors
  • Vehicles showing a trade licence
  • Vehicles owned or used by an exempted person as defined by the Road Traffic Acts, for example members of emergency services

All trailers must be covered by third party motor insurance. This applies whether the trailer is being towed or parked in a public place.


Even though the trailer does not have to display an insurance disc, you must have valid insurance cover.


National car test


.Vehicle testing makes sure your vehicle is safe to use on the road. This is especially important for older vehicles.

  • Passenger cars over four years old must have a valid NCT Certificate and show the NCT disc on the windscreen.

If you would like more information on the NCT, visit www.ncts.ie or phone 1890 200 670.


Certificates of Roadworthiness

  • Goods vehicles, goods trailers with a design gross vehicle weight of more than 3,500kg, ambulances, buses (including minibuses) and coaches that are over one year old, must have a valid Certificate of Roadworthiness. For details of your local authorised testing centre, please see www.rsa.ie.

Certificate of Professional Competence


Professional bus and truck drivers must also carry their Driver CPC qualification card.


If you held a full bus driver's licence before 10 September 2008, you will need to carry a driver qualification card from 11 September 2013.


If you held a full truck driving licence before 10 September 2009, you will need to carry a driver qualification card from 11 September 2014.


driver qualification card


driver qualification card




























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