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Licence Coding           

Historical Background and general context

Previously, individual countries manually marked on the driving licence the adjustments a disabled driver had to drive with. This gave rise to many differences between them and certainly ambiguities internationally. This changed with the European harmonisation of driving licences. 


Directive 80/1263/EEC                                                                                                                         

The first step was taken in December 1980 when European ministers of Transport introduced a directive (80/1263/EEC) on driving licences. This guaranteed, for example, the mutual recognition of driving licences from different member states.

Directive 91/439/                                                                                                                                                                

In July1991, the previous directive was replaced by Directive 91/439/EEC, which also harmonised categories of driving licences, among other things. Article 4 lays down the principle that driving licences shall state the conditions on which the driver is authorised to drive. The directive entered into force in 1996.

Directive 2006/126/EC                                                                                                                                      

Annex I of Directive 91/439/EEC was amended in 1997 (Council Directive 97/26/EC) to include a first list of main harmonized Community codes. A detailed list of codes and sub-codes was further introduced through Directive 2000/56/EC and has been included without changes into Directive 2006/126/EC. 

Licence Coding

Directive 2006/126/EC says the following with regard to driving licence coding:

In Article 5                                                                                                                                       

Conditions and restrictions:

  1. Driving licences shall state the conditions under which the holder is authorised to drive. 
  2. Where a person is only authorised to drive certain types of vehicle or adapted vehicles because of physical disabilities, the test of skills and behaviour referred to in Article 7 shall take place in such vehicle
In Annex 1

Page 2 of the driving licence shall include: 

  1. the category of vehicle the holder is entitled to drive  
  2. any additional or restrictive entries in code alongside each relevant category. The codes shall be as follows: – codes 01 to 99: harmonised European Community codes.  Codes 100 upwards are national codes where each authority will have codes relevant to their own country. 

The codes cover all aspects that are relevant for safe driving and proper command over the vehicle in the traffic environment.

The codes are categorized in three main categories: 

• Driver (medical reason)

• Vehicle adaptation

• Administrative matters

The code system has two levels:  main codes (xx) and, at a more detailed level, sub codes (xx.yy).

Codes are aimed to be used mostly by:

– Assessment and testing centres, whose role is to determine vehicle adaptations or conditions for authorizing applicants to drive and to identify the relevant applicable codes or sub-codes.

– Driving licence administrative authorities, which have to manage the driving licence process (issuing, renewal, exchange) and exchange information with other Member States through RESPER.  RESPER is a tool mainly used by Police Services to check Driving Licence status.

– Car adaptation industries, which will provide the necessary adaptations to the vehicle, meeting the description of the codes.

– Enforcement authorities who will verify during roadside checks compliance with the driver’s or vehicle adaptation conditions, on the basis of the appropriate code(s).

– Citizens, in particular those with functional disabilities.


 Since 2000, when the current list of codes and subcodes was introduced, scientific and technological evolution has occurred, both in medical science and vehicle car-adaptation technologies. New products, like electronic and software based brake- and steering systems with mini-wheel or joystick operation, are no exceptions anymore. 

Therefore, the driving licence committee of 13 October 2011 agreed that a review of the harmonized codes in Annex I should be undertaken with the assistance of the appropriate technical experts.

To this end, a specific sub-group was created within the Driving Licence Technical Working Group (DLTWG) with a view to examine the existing driver and vehicle adaptation codes and sub-codes and in particular whether they need to be updated, improved – or removed when inconsistent or never used.

The main conclusions of the sub-group are the following:

– Many of the current codes describe a precise technical solution, which lacks flexibility, does not represent state of the art technology and may not be adapted to technological evolution. Besides, the current coding system is generally product-oriented and does not reflect the vehicle adaptation from the driver’s point of view.

– The coding system should be as detailed as possible on one hand, but be easy to understand and apply on the other hand. 

– The small size of the EU driving licence card requires that any opportunity to save space is being used. The sub-group has therefore also made proposals to reduce the number of codes and where possible the number of digits required. The result following the revision would be the deletion of around 20 sub-codes.

These considerations have led to the current list of driving licence codes.

Current list of driving licence codes
  • January 1, 2017
  • Previous EU licence codes remain valid until licence renewal.

In Annex I, Section 3 of Directive 2006/126/EC concerning page 2 of the driving licence, point (a), point (12) is replaced by the following:

‘12.additional information/restriction(s), in code form, facing the category affected.

The codes are now as follows:

  • codes 01 to 99: harmonised European Union codes
  • codes 100 and above: national codes valid only for driving in the territory of the Member State which issued the licence.

• Driver (medical reason)

• Vehicle adaptation

• Administrative matters


Directive 2006/126/EC contains no general provisions on the mandatory or optional use of codes and sub-codes. This means that currently member states may not implement all the codes. This statement is confirmed by CIECA information on the subject (questionnaire on codes)

Current list of harmonised European Union codes:


01. Sight correction and/or protection

01.01. Glasses                                                                 

1.02. Contact lens(es)                                                        

01.05. Eye cover

01.06. Glasses or contact lenses                                         

01.07. Specific optical aid                                                   

02. Hearing aid/communication aid

03. Prosthesis/orthosis for the limbs

03.01. Upper limb prosthesis/orthosis

03.02. Lower limb prosthesis/orthosis


10. Modified transmission

10.02. Automatic selection of gear ratio

10.04. Adapted transmission control device

15. Modified clutch

15.01. Adapted clutch pedal

15.02. Hand operated clutch

15.03. Automatic clutch

15.04. Measure to prevent obstruction or actuation of clutch pedal

20. Modified braking systems

20.01. Adapted brake pedal

20.03. Brake pedal suitable for use by left foot

20.04. Sliding brake pedal

20.05. Tilted brake pedal

20.06. Hand operated brake

20.07. Brake operation with maximum force of … N (*) (for example: “20.07(300N)”)

20.09. Adapted parking brake

20.12. Measure to prevent obstruction or actuation of brake pedal

20.13. Knee operated brake

20.14. Brake system operation supported by external force

25. Modified accelerator system

25.01. Adapted accelerator pedal

25.03. Tilted accelerator pedal

25.04. Hand operated accelerator

25.05. Knee operated accelerator

25.06. Accelerator operation supported by external force

25.08. Accelerator pedal on the left

25.09. Measure to prevent obstruction or actuation of accelerator pedal

31. Pedal adaptations and pedal safeguards

31.01. Extra set of parallel pedals

31.02. Pedals at (or almost at) the same level

31.03. Measure to prevent obstruction or actuation of accelerator and brake pedals when pedals not operated by foot

31.04. Raised floor

32. Combined service brake and accelerator systems

32.01. Accelerator and service brake as combined system operated by one hand

32.02. Accelerator and service brake as combined system operated by external force

33. Combined service brake, accelerator and steering systems

33.01. Accelerator, service brake and steering as combined system operation by external force with one hand

33.02. Accelerator, service brake and steering as combined system operation by external force with two hands

35. Modified control layouts (lights switches, windscreen wiper/washer, horn, direction indicators, etc.)

35.02. Control devices operable without releasing the steering device

35.03. Control devices operable without releasing the steering device with the left hand

35.04. Control devices operable without releasing the steering device with the right hand

35.05. Control devices operable without releasing the steering device and the accelerator and braking mechanisms

40. Modified steering

40.01. Steering with maximum operation force of … N (*) (for example “40.01(140N)”)

40.05. Adapted steering wheel (larger/thicker steering wheel section, reduced diameter, etc.)

40.06. Adapted position of steering wheel

40.09. Foot operated steering

40.11. Assistive device at steering wheel

40.14. One hand/arm operated alternative adapted steering system

40.15. Two hand/arm operated alternative adapted steering system

42. Modified rear/side view devices

42.01. Adapted device for rear view

42.03. Additional inside device permitting side view

42.05. Blind spot viewing device

43. Driver seating position

43.01. Driver seat height for normal view and in normal distance from the steering wheel and the pedals

43.02. Driver seat adapted to body shape

43.03. Driver seat with lateral support for good stability

43.04. Driver seat with armrest

43.06. Seat belt adaptation

43.07. Seat belt type with support for good stability

44. Modifications to motorcycles (sub-code use obligatory)

44.01. Single operated brake

44.02. Adapted front wheel brake

44.03. Adapted rear wheel brake

44.04. Adapted accelerator

44.08. Seat height allowing the driver, in sitting position, to have two feet on the surface at the same time and balance the motorcycle during stopping and standing.

44.09. Maximum operation force of front wheel brake … N (*) (for example “44.09(140N)”)

44.10. Maximum operation force of rear wheel brake … N (*) (for example “44.10(240N)”)

44.11. Adapted foot-rest

44.12. Adapted hand grip

45. Motorcycle with side-car only

46. Tricycles only

47. Restricted to vehicles of more than two wheels not requiring balance by the driver for starting, stopping and standing

50. Restricted to a specific vehicle/chassis number (vehicle identification number, VIN)

Letters used in combination with codes 01 to 44 for further specification:

a left

b right

c hand

d foot

e middle

f arm

g thumb


61. Limited to day time journeys (for example: one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset)

62. Limited to journeys within a radius of … km from holder’s place of residence or only inside city/region

63. Driving without passengers

64. Limited to journeys with a speed not greater than … km/h

65. Driving authorised solely when accompanied by a holder of a driving licence of at least the equivalent category

66. Without trailer

67. No driving on motorways

68. No alcohol

69. Restricted to driving vehicles equipped with an alcohol interlock in accordance with EN 50436. Indication of an expiry date is optional (for example “69” or “69(01.01.2016)”)


70. Exchange of licence No … issued by … (EU/UN distinguishing sign in the case of a third country; for example “70.0123456789.NL”)

71. Duplicate of licence No … (EU/UN distinguishing sign in the case of a third country; for example “71.987654321.HR”)

73. Restricted to category B vehicles of the motor quadricycle type (B1)

78. Restricted to vehicles with automatic transmission

79. (…) Restricted to vehicles which comply with the specifications indicated in brackets, for the application of Article 13 of this Directive

79.01. Restricted to two-wheel vehicles with or without side-car

79.02. Restricted to category AM vehicles of the three-wheel or light quadricycle type

79.03. Restricted to tricycles

79.04. Restricted to tricycles combined with a trailer having a maximum authorised mass not exceeding 750 kg

79.05. Category A1 motorcycle with a power/weight ratio above 0,1 kW/kg

79.06. Category BE vehicle where the maximum authorised mass of the trailer exceeds 3 500 kg

80. Restricted to holders of a driving licence for a category A vehicle of the motor tricycle type not having reached the age of 24 years

81. Restricted to holders of a driving licence for a category A vehicle of the two-wheel motorcycle type not having reached the age of 21 years

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