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New Changes to the Paper Counterpart of a Driving Licence

New Changes to the Paper Counterpart of a Driving Licence

Changes to the driving licence counter part

As from 8th June 2015 the DVLA will no longer issue a paper counterpart along with the photo card driving licence. This is a move to cut down on “red tape” by the DVLA. At the same time the way in which driving licence endorsements are recorded will also change. Any penalty points on a driver’s licence will now be stored electronically and not displayed on the driving licence. Motorists will be able to check their penalty points online, by phone or by post.

A number of consumer research polls seem to suggest that many drivers in the UK are unaware of these changes which could leave motorists inconvenienced when trying to hire a car or use their licence as proof of identity.

Sarah Sillars, the Institute of Advanced Drivers’ Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘People are not aware of how many of the current procedures are changing. Similar to the abolition of the tax disc, they assume much of what has happened before will continue”.

How do you view your driving licence details once the counterpart disappears

The paper counterpart of your driving licence used to display:

  • Details of your endorsements and penalty points and when they expire
  • Classes of vehicles you can drive
  • and when the document itself will expire.

Although some of this information is available on the back of the photocard, it is not that clear or 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 faciliate these changes, the DVLA has launched its online ‘View Driving Record’ service (https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence) which allows a motorist to view their data by entering their:

  • Driving licence number
  • National insurance number
  • and postcode.

The online service will also allow you to download a summary of your licence record which can be printed or shared. The information will only be provided with the knowledge of the licence holder.

Alternatively you can call the DVLA and give permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.

Real-time information

As well as cost savings, the abolition of the counterpart highlights the need for real-time information with regard to a driver’s penalty points and driving offences. From 8 June 2015 neither the photo card driving licence nor the paper licence will provide an accurate account of any driving endorsements a driver may have.

If you have committed an offence

If you have committed a road traffic offence, you will still need to surrender your photo licence.

What you need to do

If you have a photocard and paper counterpart

If your licence and driving endorsements are accurate and up to date, you do not have to do anything; simply note that from June 8 2015 the paper counterpart of the licence will no longer be valid.

The DVLA has advised motorists to destroy the counterpart after June 8, however advice from the AA contradicts this. The AA has maintained a cautious approach by warning drivers to keep the counterpart as many car hire companies and authorities, in Europe or Worldwide, will not be aware of the new changes and may still request to see it.

If however you do decide to destroy the counterpart, it is important to check that your details on the paper counterpart, including penalty points, are identical to those on the DVLA’s electronic system.

If you have an old paper licence and not a photocard

Green paper licences were issued before 1998, after which the photocards were introduced.

Paper licences are still valid – and should not be destroyed. You are not under any obligation to change it to a photocard until the details are incorrect.

Upgrading to the photocard is free if you are changing your address, name or adding a driving entitlement .If you are not amending your personal details and simply wish to upgrade to the photocard this will cost £17.00 by post or £14.00 (Figures obtained by the DVLA June.05.2015).

Using a car hire firm in the UK and abroad

In the past, car rental companies requested to see the paper counterpart to a driver’s licence to verify any points, endorsements and the expiration date. If you are hiring a vehicle after 8 June 2015 you will need to use the “View Your Licence” online service provided by the DVLA in order to print a copy of your licence and obtain a one-time passcode which can be given to the car hire company.

The DVLA has recommended obtaining a print version of your licence as well as the code as car hire companies may prefer a print version or an online code (advice obtained from the DVLA June 5 2015)

Therefore when hiring a vehicle it is advisable to follow both the steps below:

  1. Print version: Log on to the GOV.UK online ‘View Driving Record’ service, by entering your driving licence number, national insurance number and postcode and print a pdf version of your licence (including any endorsements) to give to the car hire company
  2. Passcode: Log on to the GOV.UK online ‘View Driving Record’ service (within 72 hours of hiring a vehicle) by entering your driving licence number, national insurance number and postcode and obtain a code which can be given to a car hire firm to allow them to access your details online. Once you have logged in, 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.

If you are unable to obtain the online passcode, the hire company will need to phone the DVLA’s premium rate line – which has restricted hours of operation. A car hire firm may charge the costs of the phone call to the client.

Important points about the code

  • The code generated by the DVLA’s “Share My Driving Licence” portal will only last 3 days. So if you are planning to hire a car later into your holiday, you will need access to the internet in order to log on to the portal and obtain the code.
  • Once the car hire firm has logged out of the system they will not be able to log back in.
  • Only 5 code requests can be made in any 72 hour period.

Information for employers and employees

Companies which employ drivers require evidence of a potential employee’s driving record. Employers can use the online service and code in the same way as a car hire firm. Employees will need to login and forward the passcode and the last 8 digits for their licence to their employer.

If you cannot generate a code online, then you can call the DVLA on 0300 083 0013 and they will provide you with one. Alternatively you can call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.

Key points to keep in mind

Although the DVLA has tried to explain the process as clearly as possible, it is worth keeping a few points in mind:

  • Keeping the counterpart may be useful in case a car hire firm, or other official, is not aware of the changes.
  • Login to the portal and check that your details are correct a few weeks before you travel. Contact the DVLA as soon as possible if your data needs to be corrected or updated.
  • Login to the portal and print out the pdf version of your licence (including penalty details) before travelling.
  • Obtain your “check code” within 72 hours of hiring a car.
  • Make a note your national insurance number before you travel.
  • If you are not familiar with using online services you can obtain help by contacting the DVLA on:​
    • Telephone: 0300 790 6801 Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1278 Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm, Saturday, 8am to 2pm
    • Fax: 0300 123 0784 Fax from outside the UK: +44 (0)1792 786 369

Expert Legal Advice on Road Traffic Offences

If you are facing a road traffic prosecution, the most important thing you can do is to get early legal advice.

If you or a family member has been charged with a road traffic offence, IBB’s specialist road traffic and speeding solicitors can help. Call or 03456 381381 or 0330 999 4999 for immediate help. Alternatively, please email us at roadtraffic@ibblaw.co.uk.