UK paper licence axed: what you need to know

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Counterpart Driving License

If you passed your driving test after 1998, or indeed any time before that date, you’ll be familiar with the paper counterpart to your plastic driver’s licence. From 8 June 2015, however, paper licences will be consigned to history as the government replaces paper with the DVLA’s MyLicence online system.

Drivers who passed before 1998, and only have the paper document, will still have a valid licence for the length stated, but paper will no longer be accepted to prove endorsements or penalty points. From this summer, the antiquated system of driving documentation will enter the shiny new world of plastic and digital. These forms – the photo card and your online account – will be the only legal licences.

Hitherto, the paper counterpart was a vital way of tracking a driver’s endorsements, penalty points and disqualifications. With government departments focussed on cutting red tape and reducing costs, the DVLA says this new online system will simplify the system, making life easier for drivers and employers.

Indeed, the new rules do away with the old custom of employers and fleet managers glancing at the paper licence to validate a customer or employee. Under the centralised system, both driver and other agencies must apply for a special code from the DVLA to access its licence database. But beware, especially when hiring a car abroad, the code is only valid for 72 hours.

When hiring a car, it’s advised to hire well in advance – before you’re on your holiday – due to the DVLA being the new middle man.

Nevertheless, given the added online bureaucracy, authorities stress the new way makes your life easier. The DVLA’s Chief Executive, Oliver Morley, states “it’s very easy to view and share your driving record with those that need to see your details”.

Insurance companies will also find it easier to combat fraud, using the MyLicence system to investigate statements regarding motoring convictions, although insurers do need permission from holders before they access their details. Meanwhile, the police will have no such limitations, with instant roadside access available via the Police National Computer.

Governments have a shaky record when it comes to new-fangled online systems – to put it mildly. With the DVLA’s MyLicence database, there are particular concerns about test driving. Up to 10,000-plus courtesy loan and test drives are conducted across the UK every day. Given the scale and the pace of change, dealers fear that simple checks will result in administrative chaos.

Time will tell whether their fears will be realised. For now, all you have to do is dig out that paper counterpart and cast it onto the scrapheap of history.

If you’re interested in finding out more simply get in touch or visit your local dealership.

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