LTO explains new license restriction codes

Restriction codes of the driver's license are about to be revamped as the LTO rolls out a newer, more detailed alphanumeric system. Rather than simply lumping together all motorcycles and tricycles under Restriction Code 1, the LTO is introducing subcategories to further specify what you can and can't drive.

In April of last year, the LTO revamped the age-old driver’s license restriction codes. Now called driver's license (DL) Codes, they're now more specific on what you can and cannot drive, complete with sub-categories.

Under the new codes, even if you possess DL Code A for motorcycles, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can ride ANY type of motorcycle. These now have weight and size limits, with some codes only valid for vehicles that cannot go beyond 50 kilometers per hour (L1).

To be able to drive a “normal” motorcycle, your restriction code should be A L3. L3 specifies that a motorcycle, by design, can run speeds that exceed 50 kilometers per hour. The codes also specify whether it's for manual or automatic transmissions.

To avoid confusion, especially when it comes to these codes, the LTO shared on its social media page easy-to-understand infographics explaining the new DL Codes.

For example, under tricycles, 4-wheeled vehicles under 350 and 550 kilograms, respectively, are included in this category.

If you want to drive a passenger car that only weighs 550 kilograms or less, you must possess a restriction code of A1 (tricycle) L7 (4 wheels with an unladen mass not exceeding 550kg and a max speed of 45 km/h).

Additionally, the new restriction codes now also specify what type of motorcycle transmission you can drive. AT means automatic transmission while MT means manual transmission. If your restriction code is A L3 NPL AT, that means you can only ride a motorcycle with an automatic transmission. Thankfully, with the variety of bikes these days, that can be something like the new Honda Africa Twin (dual clutch automatic, DCT AT) or X-Adv 750.

For a more complete explaination, check out this PRIMER.

New restriction codes explained image

The LTO has been planning this for a few years now. In August of 2019, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has released a memo clarifying driver’s license code restrictions. The said memo clarifies that drivers whose restriction codes are 2 and 3 are allowed to drive vehicles with manual or automatic transmissions; while those with restriction codes 4 and 5 can only drive or operate vehicles with automatic transmission.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, the LTO has yet to clarify when and how the new and improved driver’s license will be fully implemented.

For those renewing, your old restrictions will likely be converted into the new DL Codes as you renew.

However, there could be some hiccups if you've initially applied to drive a motorcycle or tricycle as the category has now been split into two.

We'll keep you updated as we receive new information.