Ever wondered what makes up your driving licence number? It’s not simply a random collection of 16 characters – here’s what it really means…
Each driving licence holder in England, Scotland and Wales has a 16 character long, unique driver number. The characters are formulated in the following way:
- CHARACTERS 1-5: These are the first five characters of the driver’s surname and if it’s less than five, it’s filled up with nines
- CHARACTER 6: The decade digit from the year of birth. For example, 1993 would be 9
- CHARACTERS 7-8: These are the month of birth, so December would be 12. For female drivers, the seventh character is incremented by a 5 – so 51-62 instead of 01-12
- CHARACTERS 9-10: The date within the month of birth – this would be 01-31
- CHARACTER 11: The year digit from the year of birth. For example, 1993 would be 3
- CHARACTERS 12-13: The first two initials of the first names – if driver has no middle name, the character is replaced with a 9
- CHARACTER 14: Random digit, typically 9
- CHARACTERS 15-16: Two computer check digits
- CHARACTERS 17-18: Appended, two digits representing the licence issue – increase by one for each licence issued.
The driving license number is unique for each individual, and it’s used to identify the driver and to link the driver with their driving records.
There’s a lot more to be found out about yourself just by taking a look at the rest of your licence, too…
Do you know what the categories on the back of your licence are?
We’ve compiled a list of all those categories printed on your licence, so you can see what you can and can’t drive once you’ve passed your driving test, as well as what ones you’ll need to take an additional test for. Find out here
Still have a paper driving licence? Maybe it’s time to update…
If you’ve still got your pre-1998 paper driving licence, you can exchange it for a photocard licence – but don’t feel forced to do so, because paper versions remain valid and won’t need replacing every 10 years.
Don’t risk a £1,000 fine for this simple mistake
This 10-second driving licence check could save you a £1,000 fine! Get in the know, here.
Characters on your Driving Licence Number – FAQs
A UK driving license number is a unique combination of characters that includes the driver’s surname, date of birth, initials, a unique identifier, and a check digit.
The first number of the two numbers representing your date of birth on the driving license number represents the century of birth. 1 for 19XX and 2 for 20XX
The letters on a UK driving license number represent the driver’s initials.
The check digit on a UK driving license number is calculated using a specific algorithm to ensure the validity of the license number.
Yes, your UK driving license number is linked to your driving records, and it can be used to access that information.