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Restrictions on newly qualified drivers

Regulation 9 of the Driving Licences and Test Regulations 2007 SD 161/07

R plate restrictions apply to a person who passes a test to drive a vehicle in a particular class of vehicle, primarily motorcycles and cars, i.e. category A and B.

These newly qualified drivers must:

  • display red R plates at the front and back of the vehicle
  • not drive the vehicle at over 50mph

The restrictions last until the end of the period of 12 months from the coming into force of the full driving licence which contains the newly acquired driving entitlement.

It is important to note that whilst an R plate is displayed on a vehicle, all drivers are subject to a maximum speed limit of 50mph, not just the newly qualified driver.

R plate restrictions apply to the driving of ALL vehicles EXCEPT the following types:

  • An agricultural tractor (category F)
  • A mowing machine or vehicle controlled by a pedestrian (category K)
  • An invalid carriage (category B1 limited to invalid carriage)
  • A track laying vehicle (category H)
  • An agricultural tractor which is a track laying vehicle (category H)
  • A road roller (category G)
  • An engineering plant vehicle (category S)
  • A works truck (category W)

Also, R plate restrictions DO NOT apply to a vehicle of another type when being driven in the following circumstances:

  • A goods vehicle, or haulage tractor or locomotive, exceeding 3500kg maximum laden weight, in category C1, C1+E, C or C+E if the driver in question holds a full licence in category B to drive passenger cars and light goods vehicles etc up to 3500kg maximum laden weight, and the R plate restrictions would not apply to him if he were driving any of those vehicles in category B
  • A minibus (category D1 or D1+E) or bus (category D or D+E) when being driven by the holder of a Public Passenger Vehicle Driver’s Licence issued by the Road Transport Licensing Committee for driving the class of PPV that is being driven
  • Any vehicle being driven by a person engaged in the motor trade while he is marshalling the vehicle on a road in relation to adjacent premises, or when he is driving it under trade plates
  • Any vehicle being driven by a new resident who, at the time of passing the Manx test, was fully qualified to drive the vehicle on the Island for a limited period under international circulation provisions by virtue of holding a foreign licence or permit
  • A vehicle which is the property of the Crown while it is being driven by a uniformed member of the naval, military or air forces of Her Majesty
  • A vehicle being driven for police purposes by a member of the Isle of Man Constabulary (does not include a special constable)
  • A vehicle being driven for fire brigade purposes by a member of the fire brigade
  • An ambulance being driven by a member of an ambulance service provided by Department of Health while it is being driven in the performance of ambulance service duties.

Further restrictions on newly qualified drivers

A person passing their category B driving test after 1 January 2000 has the following restrictions:

  • Can only drive a goods vehicle up to 3500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM) Gross vehicle weight (GVW)
  • Can only drive a vehicle with a maximum of 8 passenger seats and does not exceed 3500kg MAM
  • Can only tow behind a vehicle a trailer that does not exceed 750kg MAM
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