Driver license codes explained: Meaning of the letters and numbers

Driver license codes explained: Meaning of the letters and numbers

If you are not qualified to join tertiary institutions for higher education, driving can be your avenue to enter the job market. You also need to learn how to drive if you own a vehicle. To become a driver, you need to have all the driver license codes explained. Once you know what they mean, you can choose the right course for you.

Driver license codes explained
A person holding a driver's license. Photo: @Licenceza
Source: Twitter

In 1998, the government changed the South African driver's license codes. This article pulls data from the latest road traffic acts to distinguish between different drivers' licence restriction codes to make things easier for you.

What do the codes on driving licences mean?

The classification of driving licenses is standard throughout the South African Region. The classification is composed of the following groups, which are based on the European unified driving license system:

  • A: This letter is used for motorcycles.
  • B: Refers to light automobiles that weigh less than 3,500 Kilos.
  • C: Used for heavy automobiles.
  • D: This letter is used for combinations.

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The above letters have other subcategories. If you hold a particular class license, you cannot drive automobiles that fall under different codes.

For instance, you need a license for the weight or engine capacity of the vehicle you will be driving.

Driver license codes explained South Africa

What do the letters and numbers mean on my driving licence? Here is an explanation that has been extracted from the latest Road Traffic Act:

A - Motorcycles

Driver license codes explained South Africa
A motorcycle on the road. Photo: Dave Kim
Source: UGC

Letter A on your driving licence means that you are only qualified to drive a motorcycle. However, it is not just any motorcycle; the class is further divided into the following:

  • A1: Consists of motorcycles whose engine capacity is less than 125 cubic centimetres or are electrically operated. Scooters and other models with or without sidecar falls are included in this category.
  • A: Consists of motorcycles with an engine capacity of more than 125 CC. This includes speed bikes, cruisers, choppers, and touring bikes with or without a sidecar.

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B - Light motor vehicles

Letter B on your driver's licence means that you can drive light motor vehicles and not any other category. For instance, you cannot drive a motorcycle. This code has the following divisions:

  • B (a): Consists of automobiles with a tare weight of not more than 3,500 kilograms. A trailer with less than 750kg of tare capacity can also be attached.

The automobiles under this code include minibusses, buses, and automobiles with a gross vehicle mass of less than 3,500 Kilos:

  • B (b): Get this license if you drive special service automobiles with a tare weight of less than 3,500 kilograms. A trailer with a gross vehicle mass of less than 750 kilos can be attached.
  • B (5): This code is meant for the operation of tractors. There is no mass limit that applies here.
  • B (7): This class authorizes you to operate mobile machinery such as forklifts, earthmoving machinery, and so forth. There is no weight limit here.

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C - Heavy motor vehicles

The letter C code is meant for heavy motor automobiles that pull heavy masses. The categories under letter C include the following:

  • C1: Authorizes you to drive automobiles with a tare weight of more than 3,500 kgs and less than 16,000 kgs. A trailer with a gross vehicle mass of less than 750 kg may be attached.
  • C1 “4”: Endorses you to drive buses with a vehicle gross weight of above 16,000 kgs.
  • C: Authorizes you to drive B and C1 on top of automobiles with a gross vehicle mass of more than 16,000 kgs. If the cars have a trailer, then it must be below 750 kgs.

D - Combinations and articulated vehicles

South Africa drivers license codes
A fleet of automobiles on the road. Photo: @Jordan M. Lomibao
Source: UGC

Just as the name suggested, code D includes combinations and articulated automobiles. These automobiles have a permanent or semi-permanent pivoting mechanism that sharply negotiates corners. The subcategories in this class include:

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  • EB: Authorizes you to drive code B automobiles with a trailer of more than 750 kgs on top of the light articulated automobiles with a gross vehicle mass of 3,500 kgs or less. So, if you use any vehicle under class B to tore a trailer with more than 750 kgs, you need this license.
  • EC1 (a): Includes articulated automobiles with a gross combination of more than 3,500 kgs but less than 16,000 kgs and with a trailer of more than 750 kgs. This code also allows you to drive automobiles in B, C1, and EB.
  • EC1 (b): Allows you to drive rigid automobiles with a gross combination mass of not less than 3,500 kgs and not more than 16,000 kgs. The car is allowed to have a trailer of more than 750 kgs. With this code, you can also drive automobiles in B, C1, and EB.
  • EC (a): Authorizes you to steer articulated automobiles with a gross combination mass of more than 16,000 kgs. With this code, you can also drive cars under B, C1, C, EB, and EC1.
  • EC (b): This allows you to steer rigid automobiles with more than 16,000 kgs of gross combination mass. This code also allows you to drive cars under B, C1, C, EB, and EC1. A trailer with a gross combination mass of more than 750 kilos can be attached.

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What is code 10 drivers license in South Africa?

According to SADES driving school, Code 10 licenses allow you to steer vehicles with a gross vehicle mass of 3,500 kgs to 16,000 kgs. The car can have a trailer of not more than 750 kgs.

This means that code 10 falls under the C1 category in the new classification system where you are allowed to steer any automobile with less than 16,000 kgs and a trailer of less than 750 kilos.

The driver license codes explained were adopted in 1998 and are in operation up to now. The chances are that you have already picked the correct code for you.

READ ALSO: Complete list of top driving schools in Johannesburg

Briefly.co.za shared a complete list of the top driving schools in Johannesburg. There are several driving schools in Johannesburg where prospective drivers can enrol for driving lessons.

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It is essential to get the necessary skills for driving as this will ensure that road safety is guaranteed.

Source: Briefly.co.za

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