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Learner driving permits for trailers

Introduction

It is a statutory requirement that you must hold at least a learner driving permit (previously known as a provisional licence) for the appropriate category of vehicle and trailer if you want to drive while pulling a trailer weighing more than 750kg when fully loaded, in a public place. You are required to carry your learner permit with you at all times when driving.

This document explains how to apply for or renew a learner permit for a trailer. In other documents you will find information on:

To apply for a learner permit, you must be normally resident in Ireland. If you usually live here for at least 185 days in each calendar year (because of personal and occupational ties), you are considered to be normally resident in Ireland.

2013 changes

The Road Safety Authority now has responsibility for driver licensing and has set up a new National Driver Licence Service (NDLS). In addition, the application process has changed and, when applying for a learner permit, you have to visit one of the new NDLS centres. As part of the face-to-face application process, your photo and your signature is captured digitally. You have to bring additional documentation to confirm your identity.

A new plastic-card learner permit has been introduced, replacing the paper learner permit. This is an EU initiative to introduce a secure, compact style of licence in all member states.

The number of driving licence categories has increased and the minimum age requirement for certain categories has changed also. Further information is available on the Road Safety Authority's website.

Rules

Before you begin to learn to drive while pulling a trailer with a maximum weight greater than 750kg on public roads, you must hold a learner permit for the category of drawing vehicle plus trailer you wish to drive. A learner permit is usually valid for 2 years.

While driving with a learner permit, you must be accompanied at all times by, and be under the supervision of, someone with a current driving licence for the same category of drawing vehicle plus trailer. Also, the person accompanying you must have had the driving licence for at least 2 years.

If you hold a learner permit for a vehicle and trailer category, you are not allowed to drive on a motorway, act as an accompanying driver for that category or carry other people for reward.

Learner permit holders must display L-plates to the front and rear of the vehicle they are driving at all times. The plate should be a red ‘L’ on a white background and should not be less than 15cm high with a border of at least 2cm.

Since October 2011 the drink driving limit for drivers with trailers with learner permits or full driving licences is reduced to 20mg/100ml of blood. Information on other proposed measures to protect learner and inexperienced drivers is available on the Road Safety Authority's website.

The rules of the road are available at rulesoftheroad.ie.

Trailer categories

Since 19 January 2013 the categories and minimum age of the driver that apply to a driver pulling a trailer, which has a maximum weight greater than 750kg when fully loaded, are as follows:

Trailer categories from 19 January 2013
Category Vehicle type Minimum age of driver
BE Vehicles in category B with a trailer of 3,500kg maximum weight 17 years
C1E Goods vehicles in category C1 where the combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more than 12,000kg

Vehicles in category B with a trailer of over 3,500kg and where the combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more than 12,000kg,

18 years
CE Goods vehicles in category C with a trailer (includes articulated trucks) 21 years (18 years with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competance)
D1E Passenger vehicles in category D1 with a trailer 21 years
DE Passenger vehicles in category D with a trailer 24 years (21 years with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competance)

Before 19 January 2013 the categories and minimum age of the driver that apply to a driver pulling a trailer were as follows:

Trailer categories before 19 January 2013
Category Vehicle type Minimum age of driver
EB Vehicles in category B with a trailer 17 years
EC1 Goods vehicles in category C1 where the combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more than 12,000kg, and the fully loaded trailer is not heavier than the empty goods vehicle 18 years
EC Goods vehicles in category C with a trailer (includes articulated trucks) 18 years
ED1 Passenger vehicles in category D1 where the combined weight of vehicle and trailer when fully loaded is not more than 12,000kg, and the fully loaded trailer is not heavier than the empty passenger vehicle 21years
ED Passenger vehicles in category D with a trailer 21 years

Further information on the changes is available in a bus and truck FAQ (pdf) on the Road Safety Authority's website.

Your first learner permit

To obtain a first learner permit for drawing a trailer you must hold a current full driving licence for the category of the drawing vehicle. For example, to get a first learner permit for category CE you must have a current driving licence for category C.

If your provisional licence or learner permit for drawing a trailer expired 5 years ago, then your application will be regarded as applying for a first learner permit.

Your third learner permit

You may not apply for a third or subsequent learner permit unless you can provide:

  • Evidence that you have undergone a driving test in the 2-year period prior to the application (a 2-year learner permit will be granted) or
  • Evidence of a forthcoming test date (a 1-year learner permit will be issued)

Rates

Learner permits are valid for 2 years (or 1 year in certain circumstances) and since January 2013 the fee is €35.

They are free of charge to those aged 70 or over.

Information on acceptable forms of payment is available on the application form.

Any required eyesight tests or medical examinations are not free of charge.

How to apply

You have to apply in person to one of the NDLS centres. You do not have to provide photographs with your application, but you do need to bring evidence of your PPS Number and proof of address with you in order to confirm you are the person who is applying for the driving licence. See ‘Proof of identity’ below.

You apply for or renew a learner permit using the learning permit application form (D201) which is available from NDLS centres, driving test centres, driving theory test centres and Garda stations. You can also download the learner permit application form (pdf) as well as guidance notes (pdf).

Applying for your first learner permit

The completed application form D201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your current driving licence
  • A Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form. A completed eyesight report form must accompany all first time learner permit applications - see below
  • A Driving Licence Medical Report Form may be required - see below
  • The appropriate fee - see 'Rates' above

Applying for your second learner permit

When applying for your second learner permit the completed application form D.201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your learner permit
  • A Driving Licence Medical Report Form may be required - see below
  • A Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form may be required - see below
  • The appropriate fee - see 'Rates' above

Applying for your third or subsequent learner permit

When applying for your third or subsequent learner permit the completed application form D.201 should be accompanied by:

  • Your learner permit
  • Evidence of having taken the driving test in the previous 2 years or evidence of a forthcoming test
  • A Driving Licence Medical Report Form may be required - see below
  • A Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form may be required - see below
  • The appropriate fee - see 'Rates' above

Eyesight report

A completed Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form is usually required for first learner permit applications. However, an eyesight report is not required where a medical report is provided unless indicated by the doctor.

An eyesight report is required if you no longer need glasses or contact lenses when driving.

You can download the eyesight report form here (pdf). It is also available from NDLS centres. A registered ophthalmic optician or a registered medical practitioner should conduct your eye test. He or she should then complete the form and witness your signed declaration on the form. The report is valid for 1 month.

Medical report

A Driving Licence Medical Report Form is required if:

  • You are applying for learner permit categories CE, C1E, DE or D1E
  • You will be 70 years of age or more on the first day of the period for which the permit is being issued
  • You have any of certain disabilities or conditions (see application form)

You do not have to provide a medical report if you have previously provided a satisfactory medical report which is still applicable.

You can download the medical report form (pdf) (it must be printed back to back on one page). It is also available from NDLS centres. A registered medical practitioner should carry out your medical examination and then complete the form. You must sign the declaration on the medical report form in the presence of the registered medical practitioner. The report is valid for 1 month.

Proof of identity

The following documents are accepted as proof of your identity:

  • Evidence of your PPS Number
    - Public Services Card/Social Services Card
    - Correspondence from Revenue or Social Welfare showing PPSN
    - P21/Tax Assessment/ Notice of tax credits
    - Receipt of social welfare payment
    - Medical card/Drug Payment Scheme (DPS) Card
    - Payslip or P60/P45
  • Proof of address (See Note below)
    - Utility bill from your electricity/phone/gas/cable television/broadband provider
    - Correspondence with an insurance company
    - Statement from your bank/building society/credit union
    - Letter from the Department of Social Protection or Revenue
    - Other official correspondence from an Irish State agency, such as government departments; HSE; Register of Electors/polling card; CAO; Private Residential Tenancies Board or third-level college/training agency

Note: Proof of address documents can be no more than 6 months old at date of application. Mobile phone bills and statements from store cards/catalogue companies are not accepted.

Where to apply

An application for a learner permit should be made in person to one of the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) centres - see 'How to apply' above. You can book an appointment online.

The National Driver Licence Service provides information on applying for a learner permit on its website.

A list of approved instructors is available on the Road Safety Authority's Approved Driving Instructor website.

National Driver Licence Service

Road Safety Authority
Moyvalley Business Park
Primrose Hill
Ballina
Co. Mayo
Ireland

Tel:(096) 25000
Locall:1890 416 141
Homepage: http://www.ndls.ie/en/
Email: info@ndls.ie

Road Safety Authority

Moy Business Park
Primrose Hill
Ballina
Mayo
Ireland

Tel:(096) 25000
Locall:1890 506 080
Fax:(096) 25252
Homepage: http://www.rsa.ie
Email: info@rsa.ie

Page updated: 9 May 2014

Language

Gaeilge

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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.