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It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in the UK without holding a valid driving licence. Licence entitlements vary depending on when they were obtained and the type of vehicle you wish to drive. Legislation in this area derives from EU law. It is as yet unclear what the impact of Brexit might be on this policy area.

The minimum driving age for cars in the UK is 17. The Government and others have expressed concerns about the proportionately higher rate of accidents amongst younger and newly qualified (novice) drivers. Successive governments have discussed what should be done to tackle this. While changes have been made to pre-learning education and the test itself, none have implemented more radical proposals such as graduated licensing or post-test restrictions, despite calls from road safety organisations.

Most recently, the Conservative Government published a road safety statement in late 2015 which talked in general terms about learning to drive and new drivers. DVSA consequently published a Motoring Services Strategy and a consultation paper in 2016 which propose possible changes to the theory and practical driving tests.

Other briefing papers are available on driver licensing in general, older drivers and medical fitness to drive, and motorcycle licensing. These and information on other driving-related issues can be found on the Roads Topical Page of the Parliament website.

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