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Principles

The categories of vehicle

Directive 91/439/EEC sets out, in its Article 3, the various categories of driving licence.

Category A : motorcycles, with or without side-car.

Category B :

  • motor vehicles other than those in Category A with a maximum authorized weight not exceeding 3 500 kilograms and having not more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat; motorists in this category may be combined with a trailer having a maximum authorized mass which does not exceed 750 kilograms;
  • combinations of a tractor vehicle in category B and a trailer, where the maximum authorised mass of the combinaison does not exceed 3500Lg and the maximum authorized mass of the trailer does not exceed the unladen mass of the tractor vehicles.

Category B+E : combination of vehicles consisting of a tractor vehicle in Category B and a trailer, where the combination does not come within category B.

Category C : motor vehicles used for the transport of goods, the maximum authorised mass of which exceeds 3500 kilograms. Motor vehicles in this category may be combined with a trailer having a maximum authorised mass which does not exceed 750 kilograms.

Category C+E : combinations of vehicles where the tractor vehicle is in Category C and its trailer has a maximum authorised mass of over 750 kilograms.

Category D : motor vehicles used for the carriage of persons and having more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat. Motor vehicles in this category may be combined with a trailer having a maximum authorised mass which does not exceed 750 kilograms.

Category D+E : combinations of vehicles where the tractor vehicle is in category D and its trailer has a maximum authorised mass of over 750 kilograms.

Within categories A, B, B+E, C, C+E, D and D+E, a specific licence may be issued for the driving of vehicles in the following sub-categories. However, it is advisable to stress that the introduction of these sub-categories in Member States remains optional.

Sub-category A1 : light motorcycles with a cubic capacity not exceeding 125 cm3 and of a power not exceeding 11 kW.

Sub-category B1 : motor-powered tricycles and quadricycles.

Sub-category C1 : motor vehicles other than in category D and whose maximum authorised mass is over 3 500 kilograms, but not more than 7 500 kilograms; motor vehicles in this sub-category may be combined with a trailer having a maximum authorised mass which does not exceed 750 kilograms.

Sub-category C1 + E : combinations of vehicles where the tractor vehicle is in Sub-category C 1 and its trailer has a maximum authorised mass of over 750 kilograms, provided that the maximum authorised mass of the combination thus formed does not exceed 12 000 kilograms and that the maximum authorised mass of the trailer does not exceed the unladen mass of the tractor vehicle.

Sub-category D1 : motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and having more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat but not more than sixteen seats, in addition to the driver's seat; motor vehicles in this sub-category may be combined with a trailer having a maximum authorised mass which does not exceed 750 kilograms.

Sub-category D1 + E : combinations of vehicles where the tractor vehicle is in Sub-category D 1 and its trailer has a maximum authorised mass of over 750 kilograms, provided that :

  • firstly, the maximum authorised mass of the combination thus formed does not exceed 12 000 kilograms and the maximum authorised mass of the trailer does not exceed the unladen mass of the tractor vehicle,
  • secondly, the trailer is not used for the transport of persons.

It is also necessary to mention the existence of certain national categories issued by the Member States that can not be found back in the definition of the preceding mentioned categories.
In fact, national non-harmonised categories can be found in different type of characters on the driving licence model. For example, this can be the case for agricultural tractors.

For more information, see:

 

last update: 03-02-2009