The end of the UK paper driving licence

First introduced nearly twenty years ago, the paper counterpart driving licence is to be abolished from 8th June 2015. Although valid until the driver’s 70th birthday, unlike the photocard licence which must be renewed at least every ten years, the counterpart licence, which displays driving entitlements and endorsements, is being replaced by a central online database, rendering the paper licence redundant.

The move will save an estimated £8 million by improving efficiency and is likely to be welcomed by anyone who has discovered the counterpart’s remarkable ability to vanish when attempting to hire a rental vehicle or to produce their documents for the police.


How will the changes affect me?

From 8th June, no new counterpart driving licences will be issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) and all existing paper counterpart licences can be destroyed (secure disposal of the licence is recommended due to its official nature and to prevent identification theft). Drivers who possess the paper licences issued prior to 1998 (who do not have a photocard licence) should retain their documents.

All photocard licences must be kept and replaced at the expiry date as current legislation requires (every ten years, or every three years for drivers aged over 70).

Drivers who need to change their name or address on their photocard licence can submit their counterpart driving licence if still in possession of this or, alternatively, update their personal information online at the DVLA’s website.


How will entitlements and endorsements be recorded in future?

Driver entitlements and endorsements are a key part of obtaining motor insurance but at present the onus is on car owners to declare the information when arranging a policy. In future, entitlements and endorsements will be recorded centrally, enabling insurance companies, hire car agencies and employers to access the information online. Drivers will also be able to access their personal driver record online and to print a PDF copy; external companies, such as car rental businesses, will only be able to view the record with the driver’s consent using a one-time access code. Motorists can already view their driver record online at no cost.


Why are these changes being made?

The abolition of the paper counterpart driving licence is part of the Government’s plan to reduce red tape and to streamline driver and vehicle information and follows in the footsteps of the scrapping of car tax discs in January 2015. Switching to digital driver records will save approximately £8 million, reduce insurance fraud and eliminate the need for motorists to keep track of the two separate parts of their driving licence.

Motorists should be aware of the continuing requirements to update their photocard driving licence periodically. Changes to personal details, such as names and addresses, will incur no charge but replacement of the photocard on its expiry will incur a fee, currently set at £20.

So for now, motorists should retain both parts of their driving licence, but may dispose of the paper counterpart after 8th June 2015.

Here at Gatwick Car & Van Rental, we are proud to provide a low cost and high quality vehicle hire service to customers in Crawley and the surrounding area. For more information, or to hire a vehicle from us today, get in touch with our friendly team of experts – we’re happy to help with any enquiry.