End of UK paper driving license

Young woman showing her driver's licenseThe UK driving licence is made up of two elements. The photocard you carry around in your wallet or handbag and a paper component which is usually kept in the home somewhere safe. Somewhere safe is probably the optimum phrase here, as no doubt we have all been in the situation when we suddenly have to bring it to light for official reasons and…well…that extra safe place is irritatingly hard to find. Now the DVLA (Driving Vehicle and Licencing Agency) have decided to scrap the paper element of the driving licence altogether in an effort to simplify processes and services and save money in administration.  As there will be no further paper component this also has to be good for the green economy.

The new online system is called “MyLicence” and is a joint venture between the DVLA and the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) and it is estimated it will save the government around £8 million.

For many this will be great news but it did have relevance to hiring a car, recording penalty points and other factors – so what will this change mean to the everyday driver? In this short article we want to cover how you will be able to still access all the records you had before and affect all functions as from June 8th 2015when the changes come into effect.


When can I get rid of the paper component of my driving licence?

Before 1998 there was only one type of driving licence – this was the paper driving licence. The new “photocard driving licence” was developed in 1998 but it never been mandatory that you had to change to this format. Therefore there are still drivers who have the old style paper driving licence. If you are in this group you need to keep hold of your licence for the moment – they will remain valid and should not be destroyed.

If you have a photocard and paper driving licence (card shows name; date of birth; country; driver number; address; and photo) you can destroy the paper part as soon as the changes come in on June 8th.

It ought to be noted that these changes do not affect photocard licences issued by the DVA in Northern Ireland.


What will happen when my driving licence needs to be updated or renewed?

If your driving licence needs to be renewed you will just be sent the photocard with the relevant details.  If you change your name or move address you will simply be issued with the photocard.


How will penalties be recorded?

Previously if you committed a driving offence, any penalties would be shown on the paper part of the driving licence. In contrast, after June 8th 2015 you can only access this information online or by contacting the DVLA by phone (0300 790 6802) or by post. You can see the page which gives you access to all your driving information by clicking here. Therefore from now on any penalties or endorsements will be automatically be added to your driver records and you will need to pay any fines to the courts directly.


What happens when I am hiring a car?

To hire a car you often need to clarify that you do not have any endorsements or convictions on your licence. As your online access is confidential, no third party is allowed to see it. To cover this issue the DVLA are developing a service whereby you can share information with those you trust. In the future you will be able to go online, access the relevant information, download and print it, so it can be shared with the any official bodies.


Can anyone else see the information in my online records?

Clearly all of these records need to be private and confidential but they will be accessible by insurance companies who will be able to double check information given to them by their clients. This move is expected to cut down greatly on Fraud.


Is this a change for the good?

No-one really welcomes change. For most people it entails getting used to dealing with a whole new system of dealing with functions and so new ideas – however good – are not always welcomed. In this case it also introduces online procedures as a major component for accessing information. Clearly digital communication continues to become central to most people’s everyday lives but there are still those who would prefer to keep it at a distance.


And should insurance companies have access to our information? Surely they should trust our word as we trust them? Possibly, but the fact remains that insurance costs are directly related to the amount of fraud insurance companies pay out on. If fraud is reduced we may well see reduced insurance fees.


However this change to the driving licence system does appear to have major benefits. As well as saving millions for the government, the whole system is wholly streamlined, it is greener and updates can occur seamlessly without customer participation.


Happy driving.


At Brighton Marina Driving Lessons we keep ahead of the news and new laws so our teaching ultimately keeps you safe on the roads. To find out more about booking driving lessons in Brighton call us on 01273 921906 or fill in our online form.

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