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Paper Driving Licences & Counterparts: The New Rules you Need to Know

On 8th June 2015, the paper counterpart to the driving licence photocard is being abolished. From this date, paper counterparts will no longer be issued by the DVLA and won’t hold any legal status.

The official advice is that you should destroy the paper counterpart after this date, but keep your photocard licence. The end of the counterpart may seem fairly straightforward, but it has spelled some confusion in two main areas.

Advice for Drivers with Paper Licences

One of these is for people who still hold paper driving licences, and according to the DVLA, there are around 7 million people in Great Britain who do so. If you are one of them, then you should not destroy the licence, as it will still remain valid. As soon as you need to update any of the details such as your name or address, or renew the licence, then you will be issued with a photocard.

From 8th June onwards, any driving endorsements (penalty points) will be recorded electronically. To view them you can use the DVLA’s online ‘View Driving Licence’ service for which you’ll need your driving licence number, your National Insurance number and the postcode on your driving licence. You can also see what information on your driving licence is held by the DVLA by writing to them stating your full name and address, your driver licence number, or your date of birth if this is not known.

If you have a paper licence that needs to be endorsed with penalty points, then it will still have to be submitted to the court. However, the offence details won’t be recorded on it, which means it will no longer provide an accurate account of any endorsements.

Renting a Car, or Drive for a Living?

This leads us into the second area that appears to be causing some confusion. If you are renting a car, then you will need to produce your licence so that the rental company can make their various checks, including on any penalty points or driving convictions. Currently you either show your paper driving licence, or if you have a photocard licence, you produce your paper counterpart which shows any endorsements.

After 8th June however, with counterparts now invalid and paper driving licences no longer being updated with endorsement information, this will all change. This is also going to be an issue if you drive for a living and are required to disclose details of endorsements to an employer. You may find that, if you still have a paper licence, it will no longer be accepted.

Driver Details now Stored Online

The solution put forward by the DVLA is a digital service that provides drivers with access to the latest driving licence information held on their records. The Share Driving Licence service will allow drivers to share their up to date driving record with whoever needs it. This of course is all very well if you are comfortable using digital services, and if the person or business that needs your licence is set up for this type of checking. So the DVLA is also offering checks via phone or post, which may be preferable for some.

If you are planning on hiring a car abroad this summer, it may be that you will need to take a special code with you so that the hire company can check your details. The issue is that these codes are only valid for 72 hours, so if you are looking to hire a car more than three days into your trip, you may need to make arrangements to acquire your code nearer the time once you are abroad.

The driving licence paper counterpart is being abolished in line with the government’s Red Tape Challenge consultation on road transportation. We believe it has to be considered good news if paperwork is reduced and services are simplified and although the new system will no doubt have its teething problems and raise some confusion, it will soon become second nature.

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