Driving Licence Changes The Lowdown

Driving Licence Changes in 2015

It seems that DVLA are going paperless. Following the recent abolition of the tax disc, DVLA have confirmed the counterpart driving licence, in new driving licence changes, will not be valid from 8 June 2015 and will no longer be issued by DVLA.

What is the paper counterpart?

When DVLA introduced the photocard section of the driving licence in 1998, the credit card size restricted the amount of data which could be included. The photocard section contains the driver’s personal details and various licence entitlements. The counterpart is the A4 sheet of green paper which contains the full details of a person’s driving history, in particular a note of endorsements and disqualifications within the relevant statutory period.

The paper counterpart is finished

The Courts previously endorsed the counterpart section of a driving licence with details of any road traffic offence committed including the offence code, penalty and fine however from 8 June 2015 all road traffic offences will be recorded electronically. If you require to submit your driving licence for endorsement only the photocard section will be returned to you. The counterpart section will be retained and destroyed.
The paper counterpart ceases to have any legal status on 8 June 2015 and can simply be destroyed from this date. You may, however, wish to hang on to this and we’ll explain a little more about this later.

What about the old-style paper licences

Paper licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 will remain valid and should not be destroyed. There were certain benefits to holding an old-style paper licence. In our experience drivers commonly fail to renew photocard licences after 10 years and this can often lead to criminal proceedings following a revocation by DVLA. These rules did not apply to the old paper licences and I’m still the proud owner of an original licence which admittedly does now look rather akin to an ancient manuscript.
The Court will return old-style paper licences following a penalty point endorsement although the particulars of the offence will not be noted thereon. These will be recorded electronically in accordance with the new system.

How to check your driving licence

DVLA will be offering a free online service which will allow you to check the status of your driving licence, including entitlements and previous endorsements. If you have been required to provide evidence of your driving record, this can also be done online by sharing the information with an authorised user. A private code will be generated which will facilitate access. Alternatively you can call DVLA and leave permission for an authorised person to check your driving record.
It is envisaged this service will allow employers, hire companies, etc. to accurately confirm the driver record of the person concerned.

Will this work?

Time will tell. It is expected hire companies may struggle with these changes, in particular foreign car companies who provide holiday vehicles. DVLA can be a difficult organisation at the best of times and it may be the case that your old-style paper licence will remain to be the easiest route to swiftly get that hire car at the airport.

Published: 29/05/2017

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