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LTO driver’s license 101: What you need to know about each restriction

PHOTO: Drei Laurel

Just because you have a valid driver’s license doesn’t mean you can just get behind the wheel of any vehicle.

Some of you probably know this (and we’re willing to be some of you don’t), but there’s a ‘restriction’ section in the lower part of your license card that limits what type of motor vehicle the holder is allowed to operate.

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Your license card restrictions will depend on what type of license you applied for (Professional or non-professional), as well as the type of vehicle used and your performance during the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) practical exam. If you have a restriction listed on your license, you are limited to operating the vehicle specified only. Let’s have a look at each one of the LTO driver’s license’s restrictions:

LTO driver’s license’s restrictions

  1. Motorcycle/motorized tricycles
  2. Vehicle up to 4,500kg in gross vehicle weight (GVW)
  3. Vehicle above 4,500kg GVW
  4. Automatic clutch up to 4,500kg GVW
  5. Automatic clutch above 4,500kg GVW
  6. Articulated vehicle 1,600kg GVW and below
  7. Articulated vehicle 1,601kg GVW up to 4,500kg GVW
  8. Articulated vehicle 4,501kg and above GVW

Restrictions 1 to 3 pretty much speak for themselves. Basically, these restrictions depend solely on the weight of the vehicle being operated (based on the weight provided by the manufacturer) and whether or not it is a motorcycle or tricycle. Restrictions 4 and 5 mean the holder will be limited to the use of vehicles with automatic transmissions.


Articulated vehicles, meanwhile, feature pivot joints to allow for sharp turns and maneuvers. In the Philippines, articulated vehicles are usually trailer trucks and heavy equipment.

To give you an idea of what vehicles you are or are not permitted to drive based on weight, a current-generation Honda Jazz is listed at 1,043kg. The 4,500kg GVW limit on restrictions 2 and 4 should be more than enough to cover most available passenger vehicles.

License holders will also be limited by any of a number of conditions (A to E) placed by the LTO during application. What conditions are placed will depend on an applicant’s physical disabilities or impairments, if any. Check out the LTO’s list of conditions below (or on the back of your license card underneath the list of restrictions):

LTO driver's license conditions

  • 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

So, how many of the abovementioned LTO restrictions and conditions do you have on your driver’s license card? Do you think the agency is doing a good enough job keeping these in check? Let us know in the comments.

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PHOTO: Drei Laurel
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