Search Legislation

Road Traffic Act 1988

What Version

 Help about what version

Advanced Features

 Help about advanced features

Status:

Prospective version(s) available. Show Timeline of Changes Help about Status

Close

Status

The version on screen is currently in force, but there is a version available (prospective version) to show how it could change.

The prospective version will remain prospective until a date is appointed by an appropriate person or body to bring those changes into force.

To see the prospective version, use the Show Timeline of Changes feature under ‘Advanced Features’.

Commencement Orders listed in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ box as not yet applied may bring changes and effects in the prospective version into force.

Changes to legislation:

There are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk editorial team to Road Traffic Act 1988. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

Close

Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. Changes and effects are recorded by our editorial team in lists which can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area. Where those effects have yet to be applied to the text of the legislation by the editorial team they are also listed alongside the legislation in the affected provisions. Use the ‘more’ link to open the changes and effects relevant to the provision you are viewing.

Changes and effects yet to be applied to :

 Help about changes and effects
Close

Changes and effects

This section lists the changes and effects yet to be applied to the specific provision you are viewing.

Changes and effects yet to be applied to the whole Act associated Parts and Chapters:

 Help about changes and effects
Close

Changes and effects

This section lists the changes and effects yet to be applied to the whole Act, associated Parts and Chapters where applicable. This includes any insertions of whole new Parts, Chapters or provisions yet to be inserted into this Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing.

Whole provisions yet to be inserted into this Act (including any effects on those provisions):

Commencement Orders yet to be applied to the Road Traffic Act 1988

 Help about changes and effects
Close

Commencement Orders

This section lists the commencement orders yet to be applied to the whole Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing. Where applicable the commencement orders are listed under two headings, firstly those that bring some part of the Act you are viewing into force and secondly, those that bring into force legislation that affects some part of the legislation you are viewing. If you are viewing a prospective version or there is a prospective version available there may be commencement orders listed here that are relevant to the provision you are viewing.

Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:

108 Interpretation.E+W+S

(1)In this Part of this Act—

  • [F1“agricultural or forestry tractor” means a motor vehicle which—

    (a)

    has two or more axles,

    (b)

    is constructed for use as a tractor for work off the road in connection with agriculture or forestry, and

    (c)

    is primarily used as such,]

  • articulated goods vehicle” means a motor vehicle which is so constructed that a trailer designed to carry goods may by partial superimposition be attached to it in such manner as to cause a substantial part of the weight of the trailer to be borne by the motor vehicle, and “articulated goods vehicle combination” means an articulated goods vehicle with a trailer so attached,

  • [F2British external licence” and “British Forces licence” have the meanings given by section 88(8) of this Act,]

  • Community licence” means a document issued in respect of [F3an EEA State] other than the United Kingdom by an authority of that or [F4another EEA State] (including the United Kingdom) authorising the holder to drive a motor vehicle, not being—

    (a)

    a document containing a statement to the effect that that or a previous document was issued in exchange for a document issued in respect of a State other than [F3an EEA State], or

    (b)

    a document in any of the forms for an international driving permit annexed to the Paris Convention on Motor Traffic of 1926, the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic of 1949 or the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 1968 [F5or

    (c)

    F5a document issued for a purpose corresponding to that mentioned in section 97(2) of this Act,]

  • [F6“counterpart”—

    (a)

    in relation to a licence under this Part of this Act, means a document in such form as the Secretary of State may determine, issued with the licence, containing such information as he determines and designed for the endorsement of particulars relating to the licence, F7. . .

    (aa)

    [F8in relation to a Northern Ireland licence, has the meaning given by section 109A of this Act (except in the definition of “Northern Ireland counterpart” below), and]

    (b)

    in relation to a Community licence, has the meaning given by section 99B of this Act,]

  • disability” has the meaning given by section 92 of this Act,

  • disqualified” means disqualified for holding or obtaining a licence [F9(or, in cases where the disqualification is limited, a licence to drive motor vehicles of the class to which the disqualification relates)], and “disqualification” is to be interpreted accordingly,

  • [F10“EEA Agreement” means the Agreement on the European Economic Area signed at Oporto on 2nd May 1992 as adjusted by the Protocol signed at Brussels on 17th March 1993,

  • F10“EEA State” means a State which is a Contracting Party to the EEA Agreement,]

  • [F11“exchangeable licence” means a document authorising a person to drive a motor vehicle (not being a document mentioned in paragraph (b) of the definition of “Community licence”)—

    (a)

    issued in respect of Gibraltar by an authority of Gibraltar,

    (b)

    issued in respect of a country or territory which is designed without restriction by an order under subsection (2)(a) below by an authority of that country or territory, or

    (c)

    issued in respect of a country or territory which is designated by a restricted order under subsection (2)(b) below by an authority of that country or territory, being a document which is a licence of a description specified in that order,

    and a licence of a description so specified as to which provision is made as mentioned in subsection (2B) below is only an exchangeable licence to the extent that it authorises its holder to drive vehicles of a class specified in the order.]

  • [F12full licence” means a licence other than a provisional licence,]

  • [F13“large goods vehicle” has the meaning given by section 121(1) of this Act,]

  • licence[F14(except where the context otherwise requires)]means a licence to drive a motor vehicle granted under this Part of this Act F15. . .

  • maximum gross weight”, in relation to a motor vehicle or trailer, means the weight of the vehicle laden with the heaviest load which it is constructed or adapted to carry,

  • maximum train weight”, in relation to an articulated goods vehicle combination, means the weight of the combination laden with the heaviest load which it is constructed or adapted to carry,

  • [F16“medium-sized goods vehicle” means a motor vehicle—

    (a)

    which is constructed or adapted to carry or to haul goods,

    (b)

    which is not adapted to carry more than nine persons inclusive of the driver, and

    (c)

    the permissible maximum weight of which exceeds 3.5 but not 7.5 tonnes,

    and includes a combination of such a motor vehicle and a trailer where the relevant maximum weight of the trailer does not exceed 750 kilograms,

  • F16 “moped” means a motor vehicle which has fewer than four wheels and—

    (a)

    in the case of a vehicle the first use (as defined in regulations made for the purpose of section 97(3)(d) of this Act) of which occurred before 1st August 1977, has a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimetres and is equipped with pedals by means of which the vehicle is capable of being propelled, and

    (b)

    in any other case, has a maximum design speed not exceeding 50 kilometres per hour and, if propelled by an internal combustion engine, has a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimetres,

  • F16 “motor bicycle” means a motor vehicle which—

    (a)

    has two wheels, and

    (b)

    has a maximum design speed exceeding [F1745 kilometres per hour] and, if powered by an internal combustion engine, has a cylinder capacity exceeding 50 cubic centimetres,

    and includes a combination of such a motor vehicle and a side-car,]

  • [F18Northern Ireland driving licence” or “Northern Ireland licence” means a licence to drive a motor vehicle granted under the law of Northern Ireland [F19and “Northern Ireland counterpart” means the document issued with the Northern Ireland licence as a counterpart under the law of Northern Ireland],

  • passenger-carrying vehicle” has the meaning given by section 121(1) of this Act,]

  • permissible maximum weight”, in relation to a goods vehicle (of whatever description), means—

    (a)

    in the case of a motor vehicle which neither is an articulated goods vehicle nor is drawing a trailer, the relevant maximum weight of the vehicle,

    (b)

    in the case of an articulated goods vehicle—

    (b)
    (i)

    when drawing only a semi-trailer, the relevant maximum train weight of the articulated goods vehicle combination,

    (ii)

    when drawing a trailer as well as a semi-trailer, the aggregate of the relevant maximum train weight of the articulated goods vehicle combination and the relevant maximum weight of the trailer,

    (iii)

    when drawing a trailer but not a semi-trailer, the aggregate of the relevant maximum weight of the articulated goods vehicle and the relevant maximum weight of the trailer,

    (iv)

    when drawing neither a semi-trailer nor a trailer, the relevant maximum weight of the vehicle,

    (c)

    in the case of a motor vehicle (not being an articulated goods vehicle) which is drawing a trailer, the aggregate of the relevant maximum weight of the motor vehicle and the relevant maximum weight of the trailer,

  • prescribed” means prescribed by regulations,

  • prospective disability” has the meaning given by section 92 of this Act,

  • provisional licence” means a licence granted by virtue of section 97(2) of this Act,

  • regulations” means regulations made under section 105 of this Act,

  • relevant disability” has the meaning given by section 92 of this Act,

  • [F20relevant external law” has the meaning given by section 88(8) of this Act,]

  • relevant maximum weight”, in relation to a motor vehicle or trailer, means—

    (a)

    in the case of a vehicle to which regulations under section 49 of this Act apply which is required by regulations under section 41 of this Act to have a maximum gross weight for the vehicle marked on a plate issued by the Secretary of State under regulations under section 41, the maximum gross weight so marked on the vehicle,

    (b)

    in the case of a vehicle which is required by regulations under section 41 of this Act to have a maximum gross weight for the vehicle marked on the vehicle and does not also have a maximum gross weight marked on it as mentioned in paragraph (a) above, the maximum gross weight marked on the vehicle,

    (c)

    in the case of a vehicle on which a maximum gross weight is marked by the same means as would be required by regulations under section 41 of this Act if those regulations applied to the vehicle, the maximum gross weight so marked on the vehicle,

    (d)

    in the case of a vehicle on which a maximum gross weight is not marked as mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) above, the notional maximum gross weight of the vehicle, that is to say, such weight as is produced by multiplying the unladen weight of the vehicle by the number prescribed by the Secretary of State for the class of vehicle into which that vehicle falls,

  • relevant maximum train weight”, in relation to an articulated goods vehicle combination, means—

    (a)

    in the case of an articulated goods vehicle to which regulations under section 49 of this Act apply which is required by regulations under section 41 of this Act to have a maximum train weight for the combination marked on a plate issued by the Secretary of State under regulations under section 41, the maximum train weight so marked on the motor vehicle,

    (b)

    in the case of an articulated goods vehicle which is required by regulations under section 41 of this Act to have a maximum train weight for the combination marked on the vehicle and does not also have a maximum train weight marked on it as mentioned in paragraph (a) above, the maximum train weight marked on the motor vehicle,

    (c)

    in the case of an articulated goods vehicle on which a maximum train weight is marked by the same means as would be required by regulations under section 41 of this Act if those regulations applied to the vehicle, the maximum train weight so marked on the motor vehicle,

    (d)

    in the case of an articulated goods vehicle on which a maximum train weight is not marked as mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) above, the notional maximum gross weight of the combination, that is to say, such weight as is produced by multiplying the sum of the unladen weights of the motor vehicle and the semi-trailer by the number prescribed by the Secretary of State for the class of articulated goods vehicle combination into which that combination falls,

  • semi-trailer”, in relation to an articulated goods vehicle, means a trailer attached to it in the manner described in the definition of articulated goods vehicle,

  • [F21“small vehicle” means a motor vehicle (other than an invalid carriage, moped or motor bicycle) which—

    (a)

    is not constructed or adapted to carry more than nine persons inclusive of the driver, and

    (b)

    has a maximum gross weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes,

    and includes a combination of such a motor vehicle and a trailer,]

  • F22. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • F22. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • test of competence to drive” means such a test conducted under section 89 of this Act.

  • [F23approved training course for motor cyclists” and, in relation to such a course, “prescribed certificate of completion” mean respectively any course of training approved under, and the certificate of completion prescribed in, regulations under section 97(3A) of this Act.]

[F24(2)The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument designate a country or territory which neither is nor forms part of an EEA State for the purposes of the definition of “exchangeable licence” in subsection (1) above)—

(a)as respects all licences authorising the driving of motor vehicles granted under the law of that country or territory, where the Secretary of State is satisfied that satisfactory provision is made by that law for the granting of licences to drive motor vehicles;

(b)as respects only licences authorising the driving of motor vehicles granted under the law of that country or territory of a description specified in the order, where the Secretary of State is satisfied that satisfactory provision is made by that law for the granting of licences of that description.

F24(2A)An order under subsection (2)(b) above may specify a description of licence by reference to any feature of the licences concerned (including in particular the circumstances in which they are granted, any conditions to which they are subject or the classes of vehicle which they authorise the holders to drive).

F24(2B)An order under subsection (2)(b) above may provide that a licence of a specified description shall only be an exchangeable licence in so far as it authorises its holder to drive vehicles of a class specified in the order.]

(3)Before making any order under subsection (2) above, the Secretary of State shall consult with such representative organisations as he thinks fit.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

F1Definition of “agricultural or forestry tractor" in s. 108(1) substituted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) for definition of “agricultural tractor" by S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(a)

F3Words in the definition of “Community licence" in s. 108(1) substituted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) by S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(b)(i)

F4Words in the definition of “Community licence" in s. 108(1) substituted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) by S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(b)(ii)

F5S. 108(1): para. (c) in definition of “Community licence" and the word “or" immediately preceding it inserted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) by S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(b)(iii)

F6Definition of “counterpart" in s. 108(1) inserted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) by S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(c)

F8S. 108(1): in definition of "counterpart" para. (aa) inserted (11.10.2004) by Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 (c. 32), ss. 91(1), 94, Sch. 5 para. 25(a); S.I. 2004/2624, art. 2(2)(b)

F10Definitions of “EEA Agreement" and “EEA State" in s. 108(1) inserted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) by S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(d)

F11Definition of “exchangeable licence" in s. 108(1) substituted (31.8.1998) by S.I. 1998/1917, art. 2(2)

F13Definition of “large goods vehicle" in s. 108(1) inserted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) by S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(f)

F15Words in the definition of “licence" in s. 108(1) omitted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) by virtue of S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(g)

F16Definitions of “medium-sized goods vehicle", “moped" and “motor bicycle" in s. 108(1) substituted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) for the definition of “medium-sized goods vehicle" by S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(h)

F17S. 108(1): words in para. (b) in definition of “motor bicycle" substituted (1.7.1998) by S.I. 1998/1420, reg. 11

F18Definitions inserted (1.6.1990 as regards definition of "Northern Ireland driving licence" and "Northern Ireland licence" and 1.4.1991 otherwise) by Road Traffic (Driver Licensing and Information Systems) Act 1989 (c. 22, SIF 107:1), s. 7, Sch. 3 para. 15(e)

F19S. 108(1): in definition of "Northern Ireland driving licence" and "Northern Ireland licence" words inserted (11.10.2004) by Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 (c. 32), ss. 91(1), 94, Sch. 5 para. 25(b); S.I. 2004/2624, art. 2(2)(b)

F21Definition of “small vehicle" in s. 108(1) inserted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) by S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(i)

F22Definitions of “small goods vehicle" and “small passenger vehicle" in s. 108(1) omitted (23.7.1996 for specified purposes and otherwise 1.1.1997) by virtue of S.I. 1996/1974, reg. 2, Sch. 1 para. 19(2)(j)

F24S. 108(2)-(2B) substituted (31.8.1998) for s. 108(2) by S.I. 1998/1917, art. 2(3)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

You have chosen to open The Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open The Whole Act as a PDF

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open The Whole Act without Schedules

The Whole Act without Schedules you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open The Whole Act without Schedules as a PDF

The Whole Act without Schedules you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open the Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open the Whole Act without Schedules

The Whole Act without Schedules you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

See additional information alongside the content

Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enactedversion that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources