Decoding The LTO’s Restrictions And Conditions On Your Driver’s License

4 min. read By eCompareMo on

Do you ever care to notice the restrictions and conditions set by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) that’s printed at the back of your driver’s license?

One of the biggest reasons The Restriction Code exists is to limit the types of vehicles people can drive with their license. Since getting a license here is not based on driving skills, this is the closest we can get to having safeguards for operating bigger vehicles.

If you don’t know what the numbers in the Restriction Code mean, we’ve got you covered—and why being faithful to it matters, we have a guide for you.

(Read: How To Get A Driver’s License In The Philippines)

Understanding the limitations

Different vehicles require different levels of expertise. For instance, if you can operate larger vehicles like cargo trucks or buses, then it’s much easier for you to go down to sedans and SUVs. However, not everyone who owns a passenger vehicle can drive a much larger one as it requires more level of experience and expertise.

To determine your driver’s license limitation, these are the following factors that allow the Land Transportation Office to find out which one will suit you:

  • Gross vehicle weight (GVW). The maximum weight where the vehicle can be operated as specified by the car manufacturer. This includes every component of the vehicle plus the driver, passengers, accessories, and maximum load. This is different from the gross curb weight, which is only the base of the car.
  • Transmission. There are different restrictions applied to certain drivers depending on the type of transmission of the vehicle they will use. For instance, certain restriction codes will allow them to drive trucks up to 4,500 kg with automatic transmission but not manual.
  • Vehicle type. There are restrictions applied that limit people in terms of vehicle type: motorcycle and tricycles, light vehicles and passenger cars (with GVW of up to 4,500 kg), heavier vehicle types like trucks and buses, and articulated vehicles. The latter are types of cars that have pivot joints such as trailer trucks, bulldozers, and other heavy vehicles that have joints for sharper turning.

Now that you know which factors affect your license restrictions, it’s time to look at the numbers indicated in your license.

Driver’s License Restriction Code

Where can you find your driver’s license restriction code?

On the front side of your license, you can see the indicated restriction on the right side of your signature and directly under the blood type. Meanwhile, what that number means is written at the back of your license. However, since your license has limited real estate, the information there is sparse, to say the least.

To help you understand the restrictions better, here are the numbers used in the code and their corresponding meanings:

Restriction Code Restrictions Types of vehicles
1 Motorcycles/motorized tricycles Motorcycles and tricycles of any displacement
2 Manual transmission vehicles of up to 4,500 kg GVW Light passenger cars such as sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, and pickups
3 Manual transmission vehicles above 4,500 kg GVW Larger vehicles like closed delivery vans, flatbed trucks, and other commercial vehicles with manual transmission
4 Automatic transmission vehicles of up to 4,500 kg GVW Light passenger cars such as sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, and pickups but only the ones with automatic transmission
5 Automatic transmission vehicles above 4,500 kg GVW Larger vehicles like closed delivery vans, flatbed trucks, and other commercial vehicles but only the ones with manual transmission
6 Articulated vehicle 1,600 kg GVW and below Articulated vehicles like tractors and container trucks
7 Articulated vehicle 1,601 kg up to 4500 GVW Articulated vehicles like tractors and container trucks
8 Articulated vehicle 4,501 kg and above GVW Articulated vehicles like tractors and container trucks

If you think it ends there, people with special accessibility needs also have to take into consideration the limitations indicated on driver’s license.

When do these apply? If you need special consideration whenever you need to operate a vehicle, take into account the following when you apply for a driver’s license:

A. Wear eyeglasses

B. Drive only with special equipment for upper limbs

C. Drive only with special equipment for lower limbs

D. Daylight driving only

E. Accompanied by a person with normal hearing

When you apply for a driver’s license, make sure that you disclose the following information to the LTO so they can add the limitations to your license. If you don’t disclose this, you’re putting yourself and other motorists in danger.

And when you have physical limitations under your name, you need to follow the corrective measures to compensate for those. For instance, if you have restriction A in your license, you need your corrective glasses every time you drive.

(Read: You Can Now Book Your LTO Driver’s License Renewal Appointment Online)

If traffic constables flag you and find out you’re driving a vehicle beyond your restriction code, then you’re out of luck because you have to pay P3,000 for that violation.

If you don’t want to pay hefty fines just follow the law and drive only within your restriction code. If you feel like it’s not enough or you need to be assigned with a higher code, then reapply for a higher limitation and take the test. It is not just for your own good but also for the welfare of other motorists who share the road with you.

Sources: LTO, LTO Exam Reviewer, How Stuff Works

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