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Before you drive a car or ride a motorcycle, there are several important steps you have to take. First, you must apply for and obtained the correct driving licence; be the minimum driving or riding age; meet the minimum eyesight rules. In addition, learner drivers must be supervised by a qualified driver (except if riding a motorcycle); display L plates (L plates or D plates in Wales).
The offence of driving without a licence carries an endorsement of between 3-6 penalty points and a fine of up to £1000 (rising to up to an unlimited fine if no insurance involved).
The vehicle you are intending to drive or ride, must also meet with the following requirements. The vehicle must be registered with DVLA; have up to date vehicle tax (check if your vehicle is taxed online); have a current MOT certificate (if your vehicle needs one); be roadworthy. You must also have a minimum of third party insurance that covers your use of the vehicle.
You must also notify the DVLA if you change your name or address, make any alterations to your vehicle, sell your vehicle, or have or develop a medical condition. Failure to notify the DVLA, is an offence for which you may also be prosecuted and fined.
If you are unsure whether a health condition affects your driving, then you need to check.
You need to tell DVLA about some medical conditions as they can affect your driving. You can use the DVLA ‘A to Z’ checker, to see if you need to report your condition and then find the relevant form or questionnaire.
You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving.
For driving larger vehicles or buses, there are also higher medical and eyesight standards. For example, you must tell DVLA if you have any driving convictions and if you’re applying for a passenger-carrying vehicle (PCV) licence, then you must also tell DVLA if you have any other convictions.
Provisional Driving Licences
As the holder of a Provisional Driving Licence, you must be accompanied by a ‘Qualified Driver’ (this does not apply to riding a motorcycle), otherwise you can be prosecuted for driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and for driving whilst uninsured, for which you may receive a fine, penalty points or even a period of disqualification.
A qualified driver must be 21 years of age and have held the relevant class of licence for 3 years.
Carrying your driving licence
There is no requirement for you to carry your driving licence with you at all times, but it is strongly recommended that you do. The police are entitled to ask to see your driving licence at any time and if you cannot produce it immediately, then you can be ordered to produce it at a Police Station within 7 days. Failing to produce your driving licence within 7 days, even if you do have a licence, is an offence for which you may be prosecuted.
EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA licence holders
The rules governing your entitlement to drive in the UK, if you have a driving licence issued outside the UK and you intend to stay in the UK for more than 12 months are complex.
If you hold a full licence issued by another EU/EEA country, then providing you are not disqualified, you are entitled to drive in the UK; your licence will be valid until it expires, or the equivalent UK licence would have to be renewed. You won’t need to retake your test or exchange your driving documents, but once you turn 70, or three years after you become a UK resident (whichever is the longer of the two), your licence will expire.
Any person holding a valid full driving licence issued in their country of origin, which is a non-EC/EEA country, is permitted to drive in the UK for at least 12 months. After this period, you will need to exchange your documents for a UK licence, or pass a UK driving test. You will initially need to apply for a provisional UK licence, then sit and pass the UK driving test; driving lessons are not mandatory, but you will need to pass both the practical and theory tests.
If you have a non-UK provisional licence, you must apply for a provisional UK licence to drive in the UK. You can then take the test after six months
Further advice can be found here:
Driving Licence categories:
View your driving licence information:
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