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LTO revamps driver’s license restriction codes

By Argie Aguja, January 12, 2021

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) revamped the restriction codes on driver’s licenses, featuring a more detailed alphanumeric system that identifies new vehicle types and specific requirements.

Under this new system of detailed subcategories, the license describes what the owner can or cannot drive.

From the previous iteration that shows only the restriction and conditions, the new format now includes important details like the Driver’s License (DL) Code, Vehicle Category, Driver’s License Classification and the type of clutch used.

Updating the system

The LTO has been revising the existing restriction codes on driver’s licenses for quite some time now.

Back in August 2019, Memorandum Circular no. 2019-2174 signed by LTO chief Asec. Edgar Galvante, titled “Operation of Motor Vehicles under Restriction Codes 2, 3, 4 and 5,” stated that 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).

Restriction codes were also revised too, putting emphasis on new DL Codes and updated existing restrictions, most notably adding specific sub-levels based on kind of vehicle and Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW).

New format at the back of licenses

This year, the LTO announced another change in the format of new driver’s licenses. In a Facebook post dated Jan. 8, the LTO released several infographics and charts showing changes in the format.

At the back of the license, on the upper left, new DL Codes will be listed as follows:

A – Motorcycles

A1 – Tricycles

B – Weighing up to 5,000 kg GVW with 8 seats

B1 – Weighing up to 5,000 kg GVW with 9 or more seats

B2 – Goods less than or equal to 3,500 kg GVW

C – Goods more than 3,500 kg GVW

D – Buses more than 5,000 kg FVW with 9 or more seats

BE – Trailers less than or equal to 3,500 kg GVW

CE – Articulated vehicles with more than 3,500 kg combined GVW

Immediately on the right of DL Codes are the updated Vehicle Categories that can range from:

· L1 to L7 for motorcycles, tricycles (specifically three- and four-wheelers)

· M1, M2 and N1 for vehicles up to 3,500 and 5,000 GVW for carrying goods or people

· N2 and N3 for vehicles more than 3,500 kg GVW for carrying goods

· M3 for buses above 5,000 GVW with more than 8 passenger seats

· 01 for articulated vehicles less than 750 kg GVW

· 02 for articulated vehicles up to 3,500 kg GVW

· 03 and 04 for articulated vehicles more than 3,500 GVW

These new vehicle categories give a more detailed description and the type of license needed to drive them. It’s far more complex than the old system, where, for example, motorcycles and tricycles were simply grouped under Restriction Code 1 regardless of the differences in weight, speed, and design.

Meanwhile, this new format takes into account the weight, capacity and speeds of each type. This clears the confusion as to what kind of DL Code and type of license are required for drivers for newer vehicle models

Beside the Vehicle Categories are the Driver’s License classifications that can either be Non-Professional Driver’s License (NPL) or the Professional Driver’s License (PL).

Further to the right is the type of clutch used: Automatic Transmission (AT) or Manual Transmission (MT).

Condition Codes for differently-abled drivers

There are times when applicants possess certain impairments that could affect driving capability. In these cases, drivers will be assigned a condition code if they fall within a certain category. Below are the following Condition Codes for differently-abled drivers:

1. Wear Corrective lenses

2. Drive only with special equipment for upper/lower limbs

3. Drive customized motor vehicle only

4. Daylight driving only

5. Hearing aid required

For clarification on the new design and vehicle classifications, check out LTO’s Facebook post here:


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