The biggest driving licence change in nearly two decades is about to come into force. The DVLA is to abolish the paper counterpart to the driving licence so that from Monday June 8, drivers will only need the photocard part of their licence. All information covering endorsements and the sorts of vehicle the holder can drive are to be held online. The DVLA is advising drivers with photocard licences to destroy their paper counterpart. Here’s all you need to know about the changes.
Driving licence change: Who will it affect?
Currently around a fifth of the 46 million UK driving licences are old-style paper ones. If you are one of the nine million drivers who relies on a paper licence, they will still be valid. However, they won’t be accepted as being an up-to-date record of the driver’s endorsements, penalty points or disqualifications. Therefore if you need to hire a car or go for a test drive, you’ll have to apply for a new licence. Any driver renewing their licence will simply get a photocard.
Driving licence change: How do you check your licence?
Go to the View My Licence web portal. You then input your driving licence number, national insurance number and post code and you’ll see all the information that is currently on the paper portion of the driving licence.
Driving licence change: How does someone else check your licence?
In order to hire a car or take a car for a test drive, third parties will need to check your driving licence as the paper part will no longer be acceptable. To allow them to do this, drivers will need to use the Share Driving Licence part of the web portal. This enables you to generate a code which you give to a third party, along with your driving licence number. As long as they input these within 72 hours of the code being generated they can see your driver record.
Driving licence change: Does it work?
The DVLA has been testing and refining the Share Driving Licence portal with 117 companies. A test version of the site is now live, although teething troubles are bound to cause some drivers problems.
Driving licence change: What’s the problem?
The changes have some unintended consequences. In order to test drive a car, a dealer needs to verify that the customer has a valid licence so they’re legally insured. Dean Pipitone, director at dealer consultancy Cooper Solutions said: “The checks present a significant practical hurdle that will prevent dealers providing test drives to potential customers. Along with the web service, the DVLA premium rate phone line is one option. But this costs dealers 51p per minute and may face unprecedented demand as it copes with the estimated 10 million annual calls, compared with the current level of 2.5 million. We’ve been spending time assessing the impact of these options for car buyers and dealers alike and frankly, none of them makes life easier for either party.”
Driving licence change: How do you hire a car abroad?
Car rental company Avis said: “We understand customers may feel uneasy about the change and for peace of mind, we recommend UK customers renting cars abroad visit the DVLA’s ‘Share Driving Licence’ portal and bring along a printout of their licence, which shows current restrictions and penalties. We acknowledge some countries may need to see the endorsements, and we will be communicating with any customers that this may affect.”
Driving licence change: What do we do with the paper counterpart?
The DVLA says current paper counterparts ‘no longer have any legal status and should be destroyed.’ But some commentators are recommending drivers hang onto their paper counterparts as there are concerns that foreign police and hire car operators will take time adapting to the new web-based system.