In a further shake-up of services to the DVLA in their quest to go paperless, the counterpart paper driving licence will become defunct as of next Monday, 8 June 2015.
This comes hot off the heels of the abolition of the paper tax disc which we covered last October. However, unlike the end of the tax disc, there has been disappointingly little information issued from the DVLA about this, and whilst their website does carry information about the forthcoming change, very little publicity has made its way into the press. There are hazardous implications to the end the paper driving licence counterpart that every motorist needs to be aware of, especially if you are planning to drive abroad.
Why the change?
The paper counterpart is used to record penalty points and is sometimes used by employers and car hire companies to confirm a person’s driving record. As of next Monday, driving convictions and points will stored electronically thus cutting costs and meaning the Police will be able to access information at the roadside through their 'Police National Computer'.
What do I need to do?
As long as you have a photocard driving licence, you won't need to do anything immediately. Your paper counterpart will become invalid on Monday and DVLA advise that you destroy it. When you need to update your driving licence details, or when your photocard expires, you must apply for a new one. If you have lost your licence photocard you apply for a new one immediately.
What if I don't have a photocard Driving Licence?
Many of us have never upgraded our traditional paper driving licences for the photocard type that was first issued in 1998. If you haven't, your licence will remain valid. Photocard licences expire every 10 years, but traditional paper licences remain valid indefinitely. The next time you update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard licence only. You original paper copy will become invalid at this point.
Upgrading to or replacing a lost photocard type licence
In their drive to go paperless, DVLA are pushing these services online. You can replace a lost photocard licence or exchange your old paper licence for a photocard through the new services on the gov.uk website. You need a 'Government Gateway' account to do this. If you are registered for Self Assessment Income Tax, you will already have one of these logins. If not, you will need to register for one. Sadly the passwords are issued in multiple letters by post (Government hasn't fully embraced the digital revolution just yet!) and registering is quite a long and convoluted process.
How can I check my driving record?
Thankfully you do not need Government Gateway account to view your Driving Licence history digitally. You just need your Driving Licence number, National Insurance number and the Post Code to which the Driving Licence is registered.
Live in Northern Ireland?
If you live in Northern Ireland, you cannot use this service and we are working hard to find out if/when this will become available to you, and what it means for the paper counterpart in Northern Ireland in the meantime. Our advice is to keep hold of your paper counterpart until sufficient information surfaces.
What if I want to hire a car abroad?
There is a critical detail here that DVLA have not made sufficiently public. If you’re hiring a car abroad after Monday 8 June you will have to log in to your online driving record before you leave and generate a code for the hire company to use to access your driving record. If you do not, the car hire company may not loan you the car. They may call the car hire line (09061 393 837) to access you details, but you must first phone the Customer Enquiries Group on 0300 790 6801 and give them permission to discuss your record.
For more information visit GOV.UK