Categories of motor vehicles
Category B includes passenger cars, smaller vans, and buses.
- General Information
- Which is better – manual or automatic transmission?
- Night-time driving course
- Slippery driving course
- State exams for a driver of a passenger car
- Final stage training
- Which types of vehicles are you allowed to drive?
- Important information for replacing a provisional driving licence with a regular one
- Other useful information
Number of seats
Towing a trailer
Training for category B consists of two parts. First, you must complete a basic driving course at a driving school (initial stage training), and two years after receiving your driving licence, a short additional course (final stage training). For more information on the initial and final stages of training, please click here.
Requirements for starting the course
Age for starting the course
Minimum age for a state theory exam
Minimum age for a state driving exam
Category B initial training (basic course) consists of at least 28 theory and 30 driving lessons. The duration of the course is at least four weeks, or in other words, you cannot complete a driving course faster than that. In reality, obtaining a driving licence takes at least several months, considering the time that it takes to complete a driving course and waiting for your tests.
You will learn about traffic rules, the basics of road safety, traffic psychology, technical aspects of a vehicle, about motor vehicle insurance, etc. Theory and driving lessons take place simultaneously. You can take a look at the curriculum here.
The training includes two special courses – a course on driving in the dark and a road safety course (i.e. driving under slippery conditions for the initial stage). These are obligatory.
In addition to the aforementioned courses, you must also complete a first aid course lasting 16 academic hours. The course has a theoretical and a practical part – you can practice first aid on special dummies.
Which is better – manual or automatic transmission?
Category B cars have manual or automatic transmission. A car with a manual transmission has three pedals (a clutch, a brake, and an accelerator) and the driver shifts gears. A car with an automatic transmission has two pedals (a brake and an accelerator). The gearbox shifts gears independently and the driver must pick a driving mode (e.g. forward or reverse). This simplifies driving and learning to drive in a car with an automatic transmission is easier.
- 3 pedals (a clutch, a brake, and an accelerator)
- the driver shifts gears
- driving is more complicated
- 2 pedals (a brake and an accelerator)
- the gearbox shifts gears independently
- simplified driving
The number of driving lessons does not depend on the type of transmission, or in other words, it is a minimum of 30 lessons in any case. Driving schools usually have cars with both manual and automatic transmissions – you can try both versions and then decide which one you would like to drive.
If you are going to take the state driving exam with a car that has an automatic transmission, then in the future, you can only drive cars with an automatic gearbox. If you take the test with a car with a manual transmission, then your driving licence gives you the right to drive cars with both manual and automatic transmissions.
A driving licence for driving only cars with an automatic transmission can be recognised by Code 78 added to it.
Which gearbox to choose? Only you can decide that. On the one hand, learning to drive with automatic transmission is easier and some models are currently only available with an automatic gearbox (such as hybrids or premium class cars). On the other hand, cars with a manual transmission are usually cheaper and therefore more available. This also concerns rental cars (which is always very important when holidaying somewhere warm) and ride sharing (such as Bolt Drive or CityBee).
You can change your preference during the course and change the car that you use for driving lessons (presuming, naturally, that your driving school has a suitable car available). The important thing here is the type of a car that you will use for taking the driving test of the Transport Administration. This determines whether your driving licence will be issued with a restriction on gearboxes or not.
If you hold a driving licence with Code 78, i.e. you can only drive cars with an automatic transmission, you can exchange it for a normal driving licence after taking an additional driving course at a driving school, consisting of at least two driving lessons, and passing a driving test of the Transport Administration.
Night-time driving course
The purpose of a night-time driving course is to learn to avoid risks when driving a vehicle at night-time. The course is short and consists of one theory and one driving lesson. The driving lesson of the course can be completed in a special simulator. You will learn to avoid risks at night time and use the lamps of a car correctly.
Why is this course necessary? Estonia is geographically located in such a place where there is a lot of driving in the dark - from late autumn to early spring. You will inevitably drive in the dark when the visibility is considerably impaired and driving more dangerous. This training was introduced to the curriculum because about 40% of fatal traffic accidents take place at night, making it one of the most urgent road safety issues in Estonia.
To answer a frequently asked question: ‘My driving lessons usually take place in the dark. Should I still complete a night-time driving course?’
Yes, you must do this anyway. It is a special course meant for driving a car at night and mostly on rural roads without street lights. Regular driving lessons will not replace this.
Slippery driving course
On a slippery driving course, you will learn to avoid risks related to slippery roads. We believe that its importance is self-evident in our climate. 😊The slippery driving course (also known as ‘Slippery driving for category B initial stage’, for example) consists of two theory lessons and one driving lesson. The driving lesson takes place on a special training track with artificial ice. You will learn the basics of driving a car on a slippery road and to pick a safe speed and distance from the car in front of you. This will help you cope independently under slippery road conditions because you can personally see and feel the complexity of controlling a vehicle. The slippery driving course for category B initial stage is an introduction for the final stage where you have to complete more complex exercises. To answer a frequently asked question: ‘I am learning to drive in the winter when the roads are slippery. Do I still have to complete a slippery driving course?’ Yes, you must do this anyway. You cannot complete the exercises possible on a training track in normal traffic and acquire the necessary skills.
State exams for a driver of a passenger car
The theory test consists of 40 questions, ten of which are about road safety. You can make up to five mistakes; however, only one mistake is allowed in the case of questions on road safety. You will have 30 minutes to complete the test.
The driving test is conducted on normal streets and roads and lasts 45–50 minutes. During this time, you must complete three exercises:
- reversing on a small area;
- parking with a manoeuvre;
- parallel parking or reversing.
The number of attempts is not limited, but you will be given a total of 10 minutes to complete the three exercises. The exercises are described in greater detail here.
You can read about the state exams and assessment here.
After passing the tests, you will be issued a provisional driving licence for category B vehicles, valid for two years.
Final stage training
The final stage of the initial training begins after receiving the provisional driving licence. The final stage of the initial training lasts about 23 months, or about two years. You cannot extend a provisional driving licence! To keep your right to drive, you must replace your provisional driving licence with a regular driving licence. For this, you must complete the final stage training.You can start the final stage training right after receiving a provisional driving licence. However, it would make more sense after you have gained some driving experience and are comfortable with driving in complicated conditions (you will not panic if the car begins to slide) and before your first winter as a driver. In any case, you should not postpone the final stage training to the last minute – take the course at least a month before your provisional driving licence expires. The final stage training consists of four theory lessons and two driving lessons. One theory lesson takes place in a practical format on a slippery driving track; the instructors demonstrate correct driving methods and the behaviour of a vehicle on a slippery road. This theory lesson is followed by a driving lesson on the slippery track. In addition to the complicated road conditions, the course will also discuss other topics, such as road safety and economical driving style. One lesson will take place in city traffic. Some driving schools allow you to take this lesson with the car you normally drive. You do not have to complete the final stage training at the same driving school where you initially learned to drive. Many driving schools offer this service and the course costs about 120–150 euros.
The instructor will add an entry on your certificate about having completed the final stage training and forwards this information electronically to the Transport Administration. Based on this, the Transport Administration will replace your provisional driving licence with a regular one that will be valid for ten years. Naturally, the prerequisite is that you have met the requirements for replacing a provisional driving licence.
Which types of vehicles are you allowed to drive?
You might be amazed at the number of different types of vehicles you can drive with a category B driving licence. See for yourself:
- mopeds (Category AM);
- trikes or three-wheel motorcycles with symmetrical wheels*;
- tractors (category T) with a maximum mass of 8 tonnes**;
- mini cars (subcategory B1);
- ATV-s, whose registration certificate indicates the L7e category
*If the motor power of the trike is over 15 kW, you must be at least 21 years old.
**If the category B driving tests were passed before 1 July 2011, you can drive a tractor with a maximum mass of 18 tonnes.
The use of an ATV, or all-terrain vehicle, on public roads is only permitted if they are registered in the traffic registry as an L7e category vehicle (this is reflected in the registration certificate). For operating such an ATV, a B-category driver's licence is sufficient. The driver and passenger must wear securely fastened motorcycle helmets.
In addition, you as a holder of a category B driving licence can drive a car with a trailer if the total maximum mass of the car and the trailer does not exceed 3,500 kg. For example, if the maximum mass of your passenger car is 2,000 kg, you may couple it with a trailer of up to 1,500 kg. This only applies if your car can tow a trailer that heavy (this information can be found on the registration certificate of your car).
Important information for replacing a provisional driving licence with a regular one
If the conditions to replace the provisional driving licence have been met, you will be issued a regular driving licence valid for a decade. A holder of a provisional driving licence can apply to replace the licence in the e-service or a service bureau of the Transport Administration . but only a month or less before the provisional driving licence expires. It is important to know that a driving licence must be collected within 12 months – otherwise, the driving licence is revoked.
In the case of a penalty that is still in force, a driving licence is issued under the condition that you have passed a theory test. A violation warranting this could be failure to fasten a seat belt or exceeding the speed limit by up to 20 km/h. The penalty is considered to be valid for 12 months following the complete payment of a fine issued for a violation of traffic rules.
Where a person who holds a provisional driving licence has been penalised by withdrawing the right to drive a motor vehicle (the duration is not important), their right to drive a motor vehicle and the provisional driving licence issued to them are revoked. Violations warranting this could be, for example, driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated or exceeding the speed limit by over 20 km/h. You can attempt to restore your right to drive and apply for a new provisional driving licence after completing retraining (järelkoolitus) and passing theory and driving tests. The calculation of your driving experience begins again after passing the driving test.
Other useful information
You can complete a theory course for a driver of a passenger car in a regular classroom or online. In the case of the latter, you must also take six contact-learning lessons with an instructor. At Liikluslab, you can complete a category B course online.
You can also prepare for a theory test – check and improve the level of your knowledge. The study environment will indicate the likelihood of passing the test (if interested, read more about the AI algorithms here).
To start your training, you must first select a suitable driving school. You can read about the aspects to consider when choosing a driving school and where to find a list of driving schools along with the feedback of trainees here.
Before starting a driving course, you should obtain a medical certificate; if you already have one, check its validity. This process is described in greater detail here.
If you fail the driving test of the Transport Administration three times, you are referred back to a driving school for continued training. You can read more about it here.
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