Desperate and eager to drive a type of transport? Let's understand the minimum age needed to do that.

Approximately 3 minutes reading time

At what ages can you drive each type of vehicle in the UK?

Minimum driving ages vary depending on which country you're in. Generally, people believe that you can be given a driving licence between 16 and 21. With it, you can drive on public roads without any supervision. Despite the age factor, there are also different rules depending on other circumstances. This article will discuss the minimum age needed to drive different cars and the penalties applied if you drive while still underage in the UK.

  1. Boats

To drive a boat down canals or inland waterways, you will need a licence however a test is not needed to pass like a car due to the higher simplicity levels. The maximum speed allowed is 4mph so there's no real danger of bumping into something, however, it's still not recommended. There is no specific minimum age for driving a boat but 18+ is heavily recommended due to potential learning or safety implications.

  1. Cars

17 years is considered the minor age for a person to start driving. Although you can still drive at 16 if you have applied for the PIP (Personal Independence Payment) component, which is the enhanced rate for the mobility component. If you attain 15 and 9 months, you can be allowed to apply for a provisional driving licence.

  1. Motorcycles

To drive a motorcycle, you need to be 17 years or older. However, this age will be determined by the type of motorcycle who wish to ride. You can apply for a licence at 16, and then the actual riding will kick off at 17. On top of this, you must have completed the CBT, which is (compulsory basic training) and have a certificate for that matter. Mopeds, which are different to motorcycles can be ridden at 16. 

  1. Helicopters

Firstly, you must be healthy and understanding of helicopter controls and safety techniques. Since helicopter flying is much rarer than road vehicles, it's less regulated. You will need a helicopter licence (like a boat) and the minimum age to obtain one is 17 years old. Once obtained, you can fly under the supervision of an expert. 

  1. Planes 

For a person to be considered qualified to fly a plane, they must have attained the age of 18. This, however, does not guarantee that you'll be given an ATPL since it is given when you're 21 years old. Training to be a pilot takes one to one and a half years or instead 12-18 months for those with zero experience.

Similar to helicopters, plane flying is not very common due to the difficulty, expense and limited availability due to weather that comes with one. For a person to be considered qualified to fly a plane, they must have attained the age of 17 to obtain a plane licence. Training, however, can begin at 16 years of age. Also, to fly a plane, you must have around 2 years' worth of experience before going solo where you will need to take off, land and control the plane successfully whilst in the air. 

  1. Taxis

Taxis are basically cars so the requirements are the same for the minimum age of 17. However, more experience may be needed as well as a taxi licence. You must also have been driving already for 12 months minimum. 

  1. Trucks (Lorries)

You must be a minimum of 18 years old. You should possess a licence (though they are not all the same- different lorries for different tasks and separate permits). You must also have a licence of category B for two years. On top of that, you must have passed your category B driving test. Vans can be driven at 17 like cars.

  1. Buses

The minimum age for driving a bus is 21. However, there are some exceptions to this. In 1987, some regulations were relaxed, allowing those 18 years to drive buses. However, this was with conditions; they had to go for shorter distances of 50 kilometers. On top of it all, any professional driver had to undergo training periodically and renew every five years. Again, for you to drive at 18, the bus should be empty and running locally as long as they have undertaken the classroom training.

What are the penalties for driving these vehicles whilst underage?

It is never the wish of anyone to suffer the consequences of illegal actions. For instance, some children don't know that driving underage might lead to the imposition of some hefty penalties. Driving underage is considered moving otherwise apart from in accordance with the licence. This could lead to disqualification, a fine of at most 6 points of your request and another one of up to £1,000.


To sum all these up, it is good to abide by laws set up by your country and, in this case, for those travelling in the UK. As much as you might have the required qualifications, the ages mentioned above should determine whether to drive on the UK roads or not. These will not only help you evade penalties but also give you peace of mind for failing to abide by the set regulations.

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