Driving licence in the Republic of Ireland
|Driving licence in the Republic of Ireland|
Irish Driving Licence
|Type of document||Driving licence|
In Ireland, the driving licence is the official document which authorises its holder to operate various types of motor vehicle on roads to which the public have access. Since 29 October 2013 they are issued by the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS). Based on the European driving licence standards, all the categories of licence available and the physical licence meet the 2006 EU standards.
From 19 January 2013 new licences issued are similar in size and shape to a credit-card as stipulated in Directive 2006/126/EEC. It features the driver's name and date of birth, their photo, signature and any restrictions or endorsements such as the need to wear glasses and any penalty points accrued. The older type licence is still valid but will be replaced by the new type upon licence renewal.
From January 2014 the NDLS started to issue an electronic driving licence contain all the information relating to the licence. This will provide additional security and protection against fraud. The microchip will enable the licence to be read by special card readers which will be managed by the Road Safety Authority and will be available to the [Gardai|Police]  However not all of the categories on the new licence are obtainable. An oversight in production of the licence means that category B1 appears on the driving licence in Ireland but cannot be obtained.
The old licence was based on the old European format, defined in Directive 91/439/EEC, as was used in other countries in the past. It consisted of a pink tri-fold paper document, laminated on one side. It contained a photo of the driver, their personal details and home address, and a listing of categories of vehicle they are licensed for, with any restrictions printed using a code format. The unlaminated side consisted of a section for any written in endorsements as well as a page with the term 'Driving licence' or its equivalents in a large number of languages.
Obtaining a driving licence as of 2010 requires having held a learners permit for 6 months and completing a combined practical and theory driving test, which covers driving, road safety and a minor amount of mechanical knowledge of a car. Obtaining a learners permit to begin with requires passing a computerised theory test. Those on learner permits for most categories of licence must not drive unaccompanied. No learner permit holders are allowed to drive on motorways and all must display red L-plates at all times, either on their vehicle or on a tabard if a motorcyclist.
Both learner permits and the former provisional licences are identical in format to full licences, but green in colour. They do not carry the full translations list as they are not valid outside of the Republic of Ireland and are marked as such on the front. Once a driving test has been passed, all categories of driver with the exception of motorcycle drivers have no restrictions on road usage or vehicle type.
Prior to serious reforms in 2007, many people who drove never completed the process of receiving a full licence - 400,000 people held provisional licences in October 2007 when the new Learner Permit system was introduced. Serious crackdowns and a huge increase in testing facilities have brought this number down heavily.
The reason for the high number of people driving under a Provisional Licence under the old system was because a Provisional Licence holder could drive unaccompanied after obtaining their second Provisional Licence, and many drivers chose this route rather than going through the full testing process. This is system was very unusual - Most countries' provisional/learner licences require a fully qualified driver to accompany a learner.
Driver theory test
The driver theory test is carried out by Prometric Ireland on behalf of the RSA. The website for booking the theory test only lists locations outside of Dublin one must type in Dublin in the Google map search box in order to return locations based in Dublin.
In order to pass the theory test, candidates must score at least 35/40. Candidates get asked forty multiple choice questions. Anything scored under 35 is a fail and the test must be retaken.
Driving licence categories
This is a list of the categories that can be found on a driving licence in the Republic of Ireland.
Note: The category B1 appears on the driving licence in Ireland but cannot be obtained as it doesn't actually exist there.
|Cat||Vehicle type||Minimum age||Notes|
|AM||Motorcycle||16||Mopeds and Light quadricycles.|
|A1||Motorcycle||16||Motorcycles 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 tricycles with a power rating not exceeding 15 kW.|
|A2||Motorcycle||18||Motorcycles 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.|
|A||Motorcycle||24 (Direct Access), 20 (Progressive Access), 21 (Motor tricycles only)||Motorcycles and Motor tricycles.|
|B||3 or 4 wheeled light vehicles||17||Vehicles (other than motorcycles, mopeds, work vehicles or land tractors) having a MAM1 not exceeding 3,500 kg, designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver.
The vehicle may tow a trailer (a) where the MAM of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg or (b) where the MAM of the trailer exceeds 750 kg the combined MAM of the towing vehicle and the trailer is not greater than 3,500 kg.
Quadricycles (other than those covered by AM) are also covered by this category.
|BE||Cars||17||Combination of drawing vehicles in category B and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 3,500 kg.|
|W||Work vehicles||16||Work vehicles and land tractor with or without a trailer.|
|C||Heavy goods vehicle||21 (without CPC), 18 (with CPC)||Vehicles (other than work vehicles or land tractors) having a MAM1 exceeding 3,500 kg, designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver and where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.|
|CE||Heavy goods vehicle with trailers||21 (without CPC), 18 (with CPC)||Combination of drawing vehicles in category C and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 750 kg.|
|C1||Medium-sized vehicle||18||Vehicles in category C having a MAM1 weight not exceeding 7,500 kg, designed and constructed for the carriage of no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver and where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.|
|C1E||Medium-sized vehicle with trailers||18||Combination of drawing vehicles in category C1 and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 750 kg and where the MAM1 of the drawing vehicle and trailer combined does not exceed 12,000 kg.
Combination of drawing vehicles in category B with trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 3,500 kg and where the MAM1 of the drawing vehicle and trailer combined does not exceed 12,000 kg.
|D||Buses||24 (without CPC), 21 (with CPC)||Vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of more than eight passengers in addition to the driver and where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.|
|DE||Buses with trailers||24 (without CPC), 21 (with CPC)||Combination of drawing vehicles in category D and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 750 kg.|
|D1||Minibuses||21||Vehicles in category D designed and constructed for the carriage of not more than sixteen passengers in addition to the driver with a maximum length not exceeding 8 metres and where the MAM1 of the trailer is not greater than 750 kg.|
|D1E||Minibuses with trailers||21||Combination of drawing vehicles in category D1 and trailer where the MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 750 kg.|
Since 2002, Ireland, like other EU states, has operated a penalty points system for driving offences. If a driver accrues 12 points, their licence is revoked for 6 months.
- European driving licence
- For Northern Ireland see Driving licence in the United Kingdom
- Irish passport
- National Driver Licence Service (responsible for issuing and renewal of Driving Licences since 26/10/2013)
- Road Safety Authority (responsible for Driving Licences until 26/10/2013)