Since its inception, the driver’s license (DL) and its restriction codes have been fairly straight forward. If you want to drive a motorcycle, you must have Restriction Code 1 on your driver’s license. If you want to drive a car, you must have DL Code 2 on your driver’s license. If you want to drive both, you need both Restriction Codes 1 and 2.

New DL Codes image

New DL Codes image

Now, it seems like the Land Transportation Office (LTO) plans to overhaul driver's license (DL) restriction codes completely.

We received a photo from a reader that shows a new prototype driver’s license with the LTO’s new driver’s license codes (DL Codes) which will replace the Restriction code. The new system now adds sub-levels to some Restrictions.

New DL Codes image

Restriction codes will now be listed in the back, on the same line as the kind of vehicles you're allowed to drive.

As such, to know what you can drive, simply look for the alphanumeric codes on the right side.

New Codes

With the old system, a license with DL Code 1 could drive either a motorcycle or a tricycle. Under the new DL Codes system, motorcycles are classified as A, while tricycles are classified A1. There are even more vehicle categories under that, which indicate the types of motorcycles each DL code holder is allowed to drive (e.g., L1, L2, L3, AT, MT).

LTO is changing Driver

These new vehicle categories should cover many of the new kinds of motorcycles and tricycles that are now available in the country and should clear up any confusion as to what kind of DL Code and type of license is required to operate them on public roads. These include new models with a symmetrical three-wheel layout like the Bajaj RE, Yamaha Tricity, and even Can Am Spyder.

With the old system, a restriction code 2 allows the license holder to drive almost any passenger car up to 4500-kilograms gross vehicle weight (GVW) limit. The old 2 code is now replaced with B and B1, upgrading the limit to 5000 kilograms GVW. B restricts the license holder to drive cars with up 8 seats. B1 is for cars with 9 or more seats.

For vehicles carrying goods, the driver's license must DL code B2 (less than or equal to 3500 kg GVW) and/or C (more than 3500 kg GVW). Those that drive buses that weigh over 5000 kilos GVW and have more than 9 seats are restricted to D. As for trailer trucks and articulated vehicles, they are now classified under 'BE' and 'CE' accordingly.

New Conditions

Besides the codes, there are also conditions, which drivers with certain impairments or disabilities must meet at all times when driving. The LTO has made some adjustments to these as well. These conditions, formerly letters, are now numbers. Condition A, now 1, which requires eyeglasses has been updated to corrective lenses, which means holders of this condition can drive while wearing contact lenses.

With the old system, those with upper limb disabilities had to drive with condition B, while those with lower limb disabilities had to drive with condition C. Now, they have both been merged into condition 2.

A new condition, 3, requires that a license holder drive a customized vehicle. This likely refers to a vehicle modified to compensate for a license holder’s unique impairments not listed in 1,2, 4, or 5.

Daylight driving is now condition 4. The hearing impaired (condition 5) no longer need to be accompanied by a person with normal hearing. They must just wear a hearing aid.

Examples

LTO is changing Driver

These are examples of how these DL Codes should look like. You'll find this listed under "DL Codes" on the front of the license. Conditions (if any) are listed right beside it.

Non-Pro, can drive automatic motorcycles only:

A:     L1,L2,L3-NP-AT

Non-Pro, can drive both light passenger cars (8 seats or less) AND motorcycles with manual:

A:     L1,L2,L3-NP-AT

B:     M1,M2,N1-NP-MT

Pro, can drive light trucks (4-wheels) with manual only:

B:     B2-N1-PL-MT

Non-Pro, can drive both automatic light passenger cars AND manual motorcycles, but need a hearing aid:

A:     L1,L2,L3-NP-AT, 5

B:     M1,M2,N1-NP-MT, 5

Non-Pro, can drive automatic motorcycles only, but need corrective lenses:

A:     L1,L2,L3-NP-AT, 1

Pro, can drive manual tricycles only, but need corrective lenses:

A1:    L4-PL-MT, 1

Pro, can drive a manual symmetrical tricycle / three-wheeler (e.g. Bajaj RE, Piaggio Ape) only:

A1:    L5-PL-MT

We've confirmed this with LTO Executive, Director Romeo Vera Cruz, who said they were going to issue a memorandum on this. Those who have applied for a license starting March 5 have already received these new licenses.

These new sets of codes and conditions should be more specific and clear to both license holders and enforcers. Perhaps not easier to understand, but definitely more specific when it comes to restrictions. Thankfully, the updated conditions also take into account new technology, leaving less room for enterprising law enforcement officers to take advantage of drivers and outdated laws.

These are certainly a sign that the LTO wants to strictly categorize what driver's license holders can drive. Combined with the LTO's plan to require seminars for new applicants/existing license holders, the more stringent process should address the grave lack of skill and knowledge of drivers plaguing the country.