Rules for Learner Drivers

Learner Drivers | Rules for Learner Drivers

Rules for Learner Drivers

Before you start to drive, you must:

  • hold a valid, provisional driving licence for Great Britain or Northern Ireland
  • make sure that any vehicle you drive is roadworthy and properly taxed and insured


Driving Licence

You must hold a valid provisional driving licence before you get behind the wheel of a car to learn to drive. It is an offence not to hold such a licence and you could find yourself with points on your licence before you get it or a delay in your licence being issued.

Also you should be aware that trying to drive any vehicle without a valid provisional or full licence negates your insurance thus leaving you uninsured whilst driving. This in itself is a criminal offence which can carry a hefty fine or in some instances a custodial sentence.


In order to apply for your provisional licence you must be at least seventeen years of age. You can apply for your provisional licence no sooner than three months before your seventeenth birthday.

If you are receiving disability living allowance at the higher rate your provisional licence will come into effect when you are 16.

It is important when you begin learning to drive that you ensure the following rules for learner drivers are adhered to in order to reduce the risk to yourself and others on the road.

Also following these rules ensure that you stay within the limit of the law and are able to enjoy the whole learning process.

Displaying L Plates

When you do make it onto the open road you must display 'L' plates so that fully licensed drivers are aware that you are learning. Displaying 'L' plates is a legal requirement and it is an offence not to display them. You can purchase 'L' plates which can be tied to the front and rear bumpers of your vehicle or magnetic plates which can be removed if the car is being used by a fully licensed driver.

Other Drivers

When learning to drive you must not drive on a public highway without another driver. The accompanying driver must have held, and still hold, a full license for a period of three years in the relevant category of vehicle and be over 21 years of age.


As a provisional driver you are not permitted by law - even in the presence of a fully qualified driver - to be on a motorway. You are only permitted to use motorways once you have passed your practical test and been awarded your full licence.

It is important to mention that although these rules may sound very simple they are immensely important and should be strictly adhered to.

Many younger drivers are obviously keen to get out onto the open road and experience the joy of driving a motor vehicle for themselves but they should be aware - or made aware if you are assisting them as they learn to drive - that not adhering to these rules can cause may problems not least the potential risk of criminal prosecution and a ban from driving any vehicle.

Other things to consider

Is Your Car Roadworthy?

Again this is a very important factor to take into consideration when learning to drive. You should insure that all lights, brakes, mirrors and indicators are fully functioning and that the car has a valid MOT certificate. Many people learn to drive in a driving instructor's vehicle so this is not so much of an issue but if you wish to learn in anothr car then it must be road legal.


A driving instructor's insurance will cover learner drivers in charge of his or her vehicle but for your own vehicle your own insurance - in your name - is a must. For someone elses car you must also make sure you are covered by their insurance.


Your car should be properly taxed before it is taken onto any public road. Without the correct tax (now referred to by many as the Road Fund Tax) your car is not 'road legal' and should not be used on public highways. You should not be on the road unless you are properly taxed as this will invalidate your insurance.

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