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UK Legal Driving Age for Motor Vehicles

What's the minimum age barrier for driving a car

  • driving age for off road driving
  • driving age for driving a car on public roads
  • legal age for supervising a learner driver

Everyone knows that the minimum age for driving a car is 17 years. This is a bit misleading, as by the time you’ve learned to drive, you’ll be a good few months older; rather, 17 is simply the age at which you can begin to learn to drive.

17 is, however, also the age at which you can first apply for your provisional licence. Technically, though, as the DVLA can issue your licence on the actual date of your birthday, you can send off your application while you’re still 16. For those of you who simply can’t wait to get behind the wheel, this speeds up the learning process considerably. But for the majority, 17 is the age at which you’ll fill out your form, send off your pictures and cheque, and receive your shiny green card.

Most people aspire to drive a car. It’s fast, takes passengers (or copious amounts of luggage) and is quite a good all-rounder in terms of practicality. If you’re looking to drive something a little different, though, different age limits will apply.

If you want to drive a moped or scooter, then you can apply for your licence, learn and qualify from age 16. This is mainly because mopeds and scooters rarely exceed 30mph, of course… but we’re not picky.

Learning to drive bigger vehicles (lorries, buses etc.) is different again: you need to be 21 or over, and already hold a full licence for a car before you can take your LGV (large goods vehicle) or PCV (passenger carrying vehicle) test.


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