Although the changes in UK driving licences primarily affect those in the UK, it is extremely relevant to those who drive on UK driving licences in Spain, including car hire.
Paper part of driving licences to be axed from 8th June 2015
You can discard the paper part of your UK driving licence from 8th June 2015 when the DVLA will stop issuing them and they become invalid. All part of a government aim to cut down on red tape, it is said. If you need to update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.
Drivers are advised, by DVLA, to discard the paper counterpart of their licence from 8th June. The changes do not apply to drivers in Northern Ireland, who will need to keep their papers. However, the motoring organisation the Automobile Association (AA) is advising its members to hang on to their paper counterpart ‘just in case….’
The purpose of the counterpart until now has been to include licence details that couldn’t be included on the photocard , such as penalty points or the types of vehicles you are allowed to drive.
However, paper driving licences that were issued before the photocard was launched in 1998 will remain valid.
What happens to speeding tickets or other fines?
New penalty points or endorsements will only be recorded electronically so if you commit an offence you will still have to pay a fine and submit your licence to the court. It’s how the court deals with this which is changing.
For photocard licences, the court will retain the paper counterpart and only return the photocard to you. For pre-1998 paper licences, the court will return it to you but they won’t have written or printed the offence details on it.
This means that from 8th June 2015 neither the photocard driving licence nor the paper licence will provide an accurate account of any driving endorsements you may have though this information will be held on the DVLA driver record, which can be checked online, by phone or post.
A free View Driving Licence service will let you see what details are held about you and the Share Driving Licence service will become available before the counterpart is abolished for anyone needing to check driver records (with the consent of the driving licence holder).
What about proving I can drive, to a car hire firm?
After 8th June 2015, if you are hiring a vehicle and you are asked to provide evidence of your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), you will be able to do this online for free by accessing the Share Driving Licence service. This service is currently in development but will be available before the counterpart is abolished, we are told.
The service should be used by both pre-1998 paper and photocard driving licence holders and 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 any nominated person/organisation, including a car hire company.
From 8th June 2015, you should check with the hire company what they need to see when you hire a vehicle. Taking the advice of the AA may be prudent as it is unlikely that all Car Hire companies will be aware of the changes. If you are asked for evidence of what vehicles you can drive or confirmation of any penalty points, you will be able to request a unique code from Gov.uk, which will allow you to share your driving licence details or you can download a summary of your driving licence record.
The code will last for up to 72 hours and will allow the hire companies to make any necessary checks. You can also request a code by calling 0300 083 0013. This also applies if you have a paper licence that was issued before 1998.
There seems little point in destroying the paper counterpart and taking the advice of the AA is best, just in case!
- DVLA via www.gov.uk
- BBC News
- The AA