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Car and light van - B

Steps to become a car or light van driver.

This is an overview of the steps you must take to become a qualified driver in your chosen licence category. For more detail on these steps and a personalised guide to becoming a safe, fully qualified driver visit our MyRoadSafety.ie portal.

To learn to drive a category B (car and light van) vehicle in Ireland, you must first prove your identity and your entitlement to a learner permit. This means proving that you would be at least 17 years of age when applying for a learner permit, that you are normally resident in Ireland, that you have a valid address and personal public services number (PPSN), and that you are medically fit to drive. You should also ensure that your car is safe, roadworthy, insured, taxed and displays L-plates.

The driver theory test checks your knowledge of topics such as the Rules of the Road, risk perception, eco-driving, hazard awareness, and safe driving behaviour. The driver theory test is computer-based and user-friendly. When you pass the driver theory test you are issued with a theory test certificate. This is valid for up to two years and enables you to obtain a learner permit within that time.

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A learner permit allows you to drive on all public roads, except motorways, for the purposes of learning to drive a car and only when accompanied by someone who has held a full, valid driving licence in the same category for more than two years. 

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All new first-time car learner permit holders are required to undertake structured learner driver training, known as Essential Driver Training. This is a course of 12 one-hour sessions with an Approved Driving Instructor covering basic driving and road safety awareness skills.

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The driving test checks your knowledge of the Rules of the Road, your ability to drive competently and safely in accordance with those rules and with regard for other road users. The test takes about 65 minutes. It's a combination of questions to test your knowledge and a practical test of your driving skills and awareness.

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When you pass the driving test you are issued with a certificate of competency. This is valid for up to two years. You must apply for a driving licence within that time. This allows you to drive on all public roads, including motorways. As a novice driver, you must display N-plates on your vehicle for the first two years.

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Passing your driving test is just the first step in becoming a truly safe and competent driver. You should continue to drive carefully and build up your experience in different traffic, weather, lighting and road conditions. The Road Safety Authority offers a range of learning materials that will help you develop your road safety awareness and skills.

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Services MyRoadSafety portal

You can now easily manage all your driver services, tests, permits and licences online on MyRoadSafety.