iam warns drivers over transition to paperless driving licences

the institute of advanced motorists (iam) has warned people to be aware of the changes that have taken effect since june 8th as the paper counterpart for the driving licence is scrapped.

iam warns drivers over transition to paperless driving licences

As was the case with the abolition of the paper tax disc last October, the IAM fear many people are still confused or unaware of the implications of the scrapping of the paper counterpart of the driving licence brought about on Monday 8th June 2015.

The counterpart was introduced alongside the photo card driving licence in 1998 to include details that could not be included on the card itself, such as any endorsements and which category of vehicles you are entitled to drive.

However this information will now be stored electronically and not shown on any written documentation you have. These details can only be obtained via the DVLA driver record system, and be checked online or by writing to the agency post.

From the 8th June, the paper counterpart, or an old-style paper driving licence, cannot be relied upon to carry correct or-up-to-date information about endorsements or categories of vehicle that can be driven. The counterpart no longer carries any legal status, and the DVLA recommends you destroy it. You still need to keep your current photocard driving licence.

However, it's extremely important to note that paper driving licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 will remain valid and should not be destroyed. From now on, if you need to update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.

What is also changing is the procedure if you have to surrender your driving licence to a court in the event of an endorsement. The court will now take your photocard, and if you include the paper counterpart with your submission, the photocard will be returned to you but the paper counterpart will not. You will, however, be expected to pay your fine in the normal way.

There's a change on how you can provide proof of your driving record to an employer or car hire firm, too. Your photocard or paper licence will not be enough in itself any more, so you'll now need to access the DVLA's 'Share Driving Licence' service by logging onto www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence .

You are now expected to access the details online yourself and print those off for submission to a car hire firm or employer. Alternatively, you can call the DVLA and give a third party permission to check your driving record verbally.

If you are hiring a vehicle, it is important to check with the car hire firm beforehand what information they need. Other than downloading the information as detailed above, you can also obtain a special code from www.gov.uk which enables the hire firm to gain access to your record. Initially the DVLA allowed access for just 72 hours to make the necessary checks, but after complaints from motorists, this period has been extended to 21 days. This applies to both holders of photocard and paper licences. For those without internet access there is a phone number to call, but this line is not open 24 hours a day.

That number is 0300 083 0013. You'll need to answer some security questions to validate your identity before you are given you a code.

Staff at the car hire company must enter the last eight digits of your driving licence number along with the special passcode you've brought along with you.

Avis, one of the biggest names in vehicle hire states in its booking terms that hirers must bring both parts of their original driving licence with them, if it is a new-style UK licence, as failure to bring both could result in the vehicle rental being refused, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

It's probably an idea to take your national insurance number with you too when hiring a vehicle within the UK.

Car hire insurance website, MoneyMaxim.co.uk offers useful advice to those wishing to hire a car abroad stating that it would be wise to produce a PDF copy of their driving history from DVLA before setting off on holiday, especially "during these early months of transition".

Compiled from information supplied by the IAM, the Guardian Newspaper and the Gov.uk website