LTO updating driver’s license restriction codes

Published January 8, 2021, 3:56 PM

by Inigo Roces

On the front of our license is a number many may have not noticed: the restriction code. This digit or digits dictate what the license holder can and can’t drive.

Initially made up of a set of numbers from 1 to 8, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is now changing it to alpha-numeric codes from A to CE. And rather than restriction codes, they are now called Driver’s License Codes (DL Codes).

ALAM MO BA? Maaring limitado ang maaaring imaneho ng isang Driver's License holder depende sa kanyang DL Code….

Posted by Land Transportation Office-Philippines on Thursday, January 7, 2021

The new DL Codes will now be in the back, with an alphanumeric system that indicates what vehicles drivers are allowed to operate.

This newer, more detailed alphanumeric system is hoped to better classify the many kinds of vehicles on the roads today, and make it clear to the driver which ones they are allowed to drive.

Rather than simply lumping together all motorcycles and tricycles under Restriction Code 1 and all four-wheeled vehicles under Restriction Code 2, the new DL Codes introducing subcategories to further specify what you can and can’t drive.

Under the new system, drivers are now restricted to more specific classes of vehicles. These now have weight, size, and passenger limits. As such, if you have a license to drive a passenger car, it doesn’t automatically grant you the right to drive a large, 16-seater, 4-wheeled van or mini-bus. Those that plan on driving a car with a trailer will have to apply for an additional BE code to add to their current B code.

Furthermore, the new codes split motorcycle into two categories, with A for two-wheeled motorcycles and A1 for a motorcycle with sidecar or a symmetrical three-wheeler. The codes also specify whether it’s for professional or non-professional use, and 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.

We’ve also written a primer to explain what these codes mean and which you should apply for if there’s a specific vehicle you need to drive.

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.

Those that renew their licenses will receive new ones bearing the new restriction codes. However, if there is a specific vehicle they need to drive, they will have to apply that specific code.