National standard for driving cars and light vans


What the national standard is for, who it applies to and how it can be used.

What the standard is for

The national standard sets out the skills, knowledge and understanding that you need to be a safe and responsible driver of a car or light van.

These are vehicles which fall into the driving licence category B.

By setting out exactly what’s needed to drive safely and responsibly, it makes it clearer what’s needed to train, test and assesses drivers. These areas can then be improved over time.

How the standard is set out

The standard is split into the different ‘roles’ of driving a car or light van.

Each role is made up of more specific ‘units’.

Each unit is then split into ‘elements’. Each element covers:

  • what you must be able to do (the ‘performance standard’)
  • what you must know and understand (the ‘knowledge and understanding requirements’)

Who the standard applies to

This standard applies to driving:

  • all types of vehicle covered by driving licence category B
  • manual and automatic vehicles
  • on any type of road
  • at any time
  • in any weather conditions
  • with any number of passengers (staying within the law and the manufacturer’s specification)
  • with any load (staying within the law and the manufacturer’s specification)
  • for private use and for commercial purposes (staying within the law)

Who can use the standard

The standard can be used by anyone. It’s particularly useful for:

  • drivers of cars and light vans
  • trainers
  • driving schools
  • employers
  • standards setting bodies
  • education and training providers
  • producers of learning materials

Feedback on the standard

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) knows that this standard will evolve and develop over time.

Email if you have:

  • questions about the standard
  • ideas about how it could be improved
  • evidence to make the standard stronger