Understanding the restriction code on your driver’s license

Having a valid driver’s license is the single most important requirement before getting behind the wheel of any vehicle. But having one doesn’t automatically mean you can drive just about anything.

There are restriction codes and conditions printed at the back of the license issued by Land Transportation Office (LTO). This will determine what you can and can’t drive.

These restrictions depend on the type of license applied for (Professional or Non-Professional), actual performance during the LTO practical exam and vehicle used.

Out there on the road and in checkpoints, the first thing authorities look for when flagging down a vehicle is the driver’s license. Simply driving the wrong kind of vehicle specified on your license may result in a citation ticket for ‘driving with an inappropriate driver’s restriction code.’ This comes with a corresponding P3,000 fine.

To avoid this situation, familiarize yourself with the restrictions on your LTO-issued driver’s license.

Understanding Restriction Codes

Drivers are assigned with restriction codes that designate which type of vehicle they can operate. These are numbered from 1 to 8, and each code signifies the kind of vehicle you can drive. It is not a measure of driving skill. Drivers must apply for each level before being granted the appropriate control.

Restriction codes are based on the kind of vehicle and their Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). GVW refers to the net weight of the vehicles plus the weight of the cargo, driver, passengers and any accessories.

  • Restriction 1*     Motorbikes or motorized tricycles
  • Restriction 2*    Motor vehicle up to 4500 kg GVW
  • Restriction 3       Motor vehicle above 4500 kg GVW
  • Restriction 4*    Automatic transmission up to 4500 kg GVW
  • Restriction 5       Automatic transmission above 4500 kg GVW
  • Restriction 6       Articulated Vehicle 1600 kg GVW & below
  • Restriction 7       Articulated Vehicle 1601 kg up to 4500 kg GVW
  • Restriction 8       Articulated Vehicle 4501 kg & above GVW

It is important to note that Restrictions 1, 2, and 4 only apply to Non-Professional driver’s licenses.

For the differently abled: Condition Code

Sometimes, an applicant may have certain impairments that could impede his/her driving capability. He/she will be assigned a condition code(s) if they fall within a category.

  • Condition A         Wear eyeglasses
  • Condition B         Drive with special equipment for upper limbs*
  • Condition C         Drive with special equipment for lower limbs*
  • Condition D         Daylight driving only*
  • Condition E          Should always be accompanied by a person without hearing impairment

For those who require special equipment and special driving conditions, assessment shall be done by a LTO driver evaluator.

Restriction code revamp soon

The LTO is currently on track to revise the existing restriction codes on driver’s licenses. According to LTO Memorandum Circular no. 2019-2174 dated Aug. 29, 2019 and signed by LTO chief Asec. Edgar Galvante, re: “Operation of Motor Vehicles under Restriction Codes 2, 3, 4 and 5,” holders of driver’s license with restriction codes 2 and 3 are allowed to operate/drive motor vehicle with Manual Transmission or Automatic Transmission while holders of driver’s license with restriction codes 4 and 5 can only operate/drive motor vehicles with Automatic Transmission (AT).

Recently leaked photos of the new prototype driver’s license reportedly shows LTO having new driver’s license codes (DL Codes) to replace existing restrictions. This new system adds sub-levels to some of the restrictions.

Under the new DL Code system, motorcycles are classified as A, while tricycles are under A1. Vehicles weighing up to 5,000 kg GVW with 8 seats will be B, 9 seats or more will be B1, vehicles with goods weighing less than or equal 3,500 kg GVW will be under B2, vehicles with goods greater than 3,500 kg GVW will be under C. Buses that weigh 5,000 kg GVW and above with 9 seats or more will be classified as D. Trailer trucks and articulated vehicles are now classified as BE and CE, respectively.

For the differently-abled, Condition Codes will be changed as well. Condition A is now referred to as 1 for drivers who wear corrective lenses, 2 for drivers with special equipment for upper/lower limbs, 3 for drivers of customized vehicles, 4 for Daylight Driving and 5 for those who are hearing impaired.

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