The tax disc has just gone paperless and now your driving licence is going to follow suit. Here’s some important info that all drivers need to know about what’s going to happen in June 2015.|
What is happening to the driving licence and when?
Unlike the tax disc, your driving licence isn’t being abolished entirely – just the paper counterpart that goes with your photocard. From June 8, the DVLA will no longer issue the green paper counterpart licence and the existing documents will no longer be valid. The paper counterpart displays details not included on the photocard, including vehicle categories and any endorsements or penalty points. After the changes, details of driving convictions will instead be held on the DVLA's digital records. Motorists will be able to check their penalty points online, by phone or by post.
Do I need to do anything?
People with Photocards and paper counterparts
This does not require any immediate action from you – providing your licence details are all up to date and correct. Your photocard is all you’ll need. The DVLA recommends drivers destroy the paper counterparts after June 8, as they will no longer be valid or hold any legal status. Motorists must, however, retain their photocard and remember to renew it when necessary. However, see below for the AA's advice
People without photocards – just an old paper licence
If you have an old-style paper licence issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998, and no photocard, you should NOT destroy the paper licence. The green paper licence remains legal and – providing the details are correct – you’re under no obligation to change it to a photo-based version. If you do want to upgrade, though, this can be done for free if you are changing your address, name or adding a driving entitlement
So, how can I see information about my licence now?
The paper counterpart of your driving licence used to tell you how many penalty points you have, when they expire, what classes of vehicles you can drive and when the document itself will expire. Whilst some of this information is available on the back of the photocard, it is not that clear and easy to read. New penalty points (endorsements) will only be recorded electronically, and will not be printed or written on either photocard licences or paper driving licences. To help address this, the DVLA has launched its GOV.UK online ‘View Driving Record’ service, which lets you see the data by entering your driving licence number, national insurance number, and postcode.
I want to rent a vehicle - what about car hire firms?
In the past, car rental companies have requested to see the paper counterpart to a driver’s licence. After 8 June 2015 if you are hiring a vehicle you'll need to use a new two-step online service provided by the DVLA on the GOV.UK website. NB: As of 05/05/15 this service is not fully live on the GOV.UK website!
First you'll need to log into the GOV.UK online ‘View Driving Record’ service and click on 'Share your licence information'. This generates a unique code that you give to the hire car company along with the last eight digits of your driving licence number.
The second step is for the hire car company to log on to the system and use your unique code and the last eight digits of your driving licence number to gain access to your details. They can then view your driving history but once they've logged off they won't be able to go back into it. And the code will only last three days, so this could cause problems with people hiring cars abroad. You may need to access the internet whilst overseas and generate a new code.
The online service will also allow you to download a summary of your licence record which can be printed or shared.
Alternatively you can call DVLA and give permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.
What about employers?
Businesses who employ drivers will already know the drill for checking drivers' records but they will now have an extra way of doing it. Employees will share their details in the same way as if they are hiring a car and give the codes to their employer.
Reaction and Advice from the AA
The AA is actually advising people to keep hold of their existing paper counterparts, as they might still be asked to produce them when travelling abroad. "Not all car rental companies, or indeed traffic police abroad, will be aware of the changes, so a 'belt and braces' approach of also taking the counterpart might help"
The AA is also advising people to check that the details on their paper counterpart, including penalty points, are identical to those on the DVLA's electronic system, before considering destroying the document.
They also have some concerns over not all drivers being comfortable with computers and surfing online. They said some people might also concerned at who exactly will be able to get access to their electronic driver record, and the potential for fraud and scams.