Goodbye paper, hello confusion?
This month sees the end of the paper part of the photocard driving licence. But saying goodbye might not be easy, in fact it’s likely to have an impact on everything from car hire to driving for work. If you’re worried about what this means for you we’ve got some sound advice and information to steer you through the process.
In an attempt to streamline services, cut down on red tape and modernise the current licensing system, the paper counterpart to the photocard is set to be scrapped on June 8. All endorsements, penalty points and other licence details will now be moved to an online database and, according to the DVLA, the paper part can be ripped up.
What does this mean for you?
Although these changes have been brought in to reduce paperwork for the DVLA - for drivers, employees and hire car/sales companies it’s actually going to create more work and responsibility.
If you need to present yours or your employee’s licence details to anyone, you’ll have to check them online by going to the licence checking website - gov.uk/view-driving-licence. Once you’ve put in your licence number, national insurance number and postcode - presuming you have all of those to hand, you’ll be able to view a licence summary for the vehicles you drive. Certainly not as straightforward as fishing out your counterpart licence to show.
Car hire, here and abroad
Supposedly, to hire a car, you should be able to take in your licence, with a licence check code (generated from your summary page) and this will be all you need to present at the desk. However, not all hire car companies are happy with the government’s changes, and won’t be using the check code database. Abroad you may only be asked for your photo licence and passport, rather than a check code. But this is something you will have to look into before you leave.
If you have a fleet of cars, and need to use hire cars while your fleet is off the road, you’ll need to make sure that everyone who drives for you is aware of these new changes and how they can find their licence summaries.
- The licence check code only lasts 72 hours, so if you don’t use it in time you’ll have to generate another code. Not so easy if don’t have internet access or you decide to hire a car in the middle of a foreign trip.
- If you forget your code you’ll need to generate a new one. Which means you’ll need access to the internet or make a call to the DVLA phone line.
- Not every hire car company has the same method of checking your details, so beware. Make sure you’ve checked with the car hire company what they require. Some will be happy with the licence check code, some may want a print out of your summary, or others might want to see your photocard licence and your passport. It will be down to you to make sure you’ve got everything you need.
Company car usage
If you need to see an employee’s licence details, or present your licence to a new employer, you will have to go through the same process as above - using a licence check code to see a full summary of the driver’s details. All of this has the potential to be more time-consuming than simply presenting a paper counterpart.
Only have a paper licence?
Then don’t rip it up! This is still your valid driving licence, and until you replace it with photocard it will hold all your information. However, any new penalties or endorsements won’t be added to the paper licence, instead the information can only be accessed online.
What if you don’t have online access?
These changes seem to presume that we all have access to the Internet, but that’s not always the case. The DVLA will have a telephone number available and you can also apply for details by post, but again the onus is on the driver to take responsibility. Plus you’ll have to be able to find this contact information before you get in touch – which is easier said than done when you are abroad or in a car hire company, where you may need the information immediately.
These new changes are likely to cause several headaches for fleet managers and drivers alike, with everyone needing to be more organised, and thinking much further ahead. There are also bound to be the normal technical teething problems too. And with most hire companies and car dealerships adamant that the changes are going to cause them all sorts of administration hassles, there are bound to be delays and additional costs, especially at a customer-facing level.
If you don’t want to get caught out you can talk to one of our advisors for more information on how these changes might affect your fleet. Call us on 01452 881001 to talk through your concerns or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find out more about changes to driving licences at the official DVLA site.