Changes to the UK Driving License that came into force from the 8th June 2015, mean that the paper counterpart to your licence will no longer be valid and no new ones will be issued from that date. Not only that, but the DVLA have said that people should destroy their old counterpart licence from that date.
This means you will just have the photocard licence and all other details that would normally be kept recorded on the counterpart such as details of fines, penalty points and restrictions will only be held electronically.
This will cause issues when hiring a car as the car hire company normally insist on seeing your counterpart license to make sure you have declared any/all motoring offences to them before they hire you a vehicle.
Anyone changing details or renewing their licence from 8th June will no longer be issued with the paper part.
From 8 June 2015 new penalty points will merely added to the electronic register so if you hand in your license at court when receiving a fine for a motoring offence they will no longer update the paper based part.
So from 8th June onwards you or anyone else will only be able to get a full picture of your driving record online via the DVLA’s driver record or by phone or post.
The DVLA have set up what they call a “Free View” Driving Licence service which will allow you check your record at any time and you will also be able to allow others (with your permission) to check it such as car hire companies or an employer who is offering you a company car as part of your benefit package.
So others (with your permission) can see your driver record the DVLA have set up a “Share Driving Licence” service (see video below), which is supposed to be ready in time for June. What are the chances that a new Gov computer system will not encounter teething problems?
The new system is supposed to allow you to download a summary of your licence record which can be printed or shared. To log into the system you will need to know your national Insurance number and postcode, so I would advise taking them with you (if you don't know them by heart) in case you need to log in to the DVLA website while abroad.
Apparently you will also be able to call DVLA (on a premium rate number) and give permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.
The share license system is going to (assuming it works) allow real-time access to anyone who has your consent.
To access your online driver record you need the last eight digits of your driving licence, plus the special passcode.
I do expect some issues when this first kicks in as anyone turning up at French airport to pick up their hire car from the 8th June onwards is going to have to make arrangements for the hire company to be able to access the hirer’s online driving record by getting them the required code.
The code is a “onetime only” pin code number that can only be used once so if this isn’t set up before you get to the hire company desk I can see long delays building up!
The code is only valid for 21 days and then lapses so you are going to need internet access of some sort if trying to hire a car while already overseas.
A Hertz car rental spokesperson said: “We will ask customers for the DVLA one-time pass code, or for the PDF of the driver record, or we will use the DVLA premium-rate line – but this has restricted hours of operation.”
I’m not sure at all that all car hire firms will accept a printed PDF of anyone’s driver record and what if you printed it a week or two before you arrive to pick up the car?
There are, even now, still quite a lot of people who don’t have internet access and especially not whilst away from their home.
This has not been widely publicised and I feel that it’s likely that many UK drivers will be turning up at airports around the world expecting to pick up a hire car totally unaware of these new rules.
Not many know about this in the UK so how many car hire firms throughout France and the rest of the world will know about the changes to UK licenses? I suspect not many and it's just over a month before this comes into force.
To check your license see the Government website.
Hopefully dodgy car renters won’t use this as another excuse to persuade renters to take out their firm’s rip off extra insurance cover, but I wouldn't count on it. At the very least you may be charged a small fortune while they ring the DVLA premium rate phone number to sort out the mess.
Read all about Car Hire Crooks here.
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