The DVLA announced last year that they were to abolish the paper part of the driving licence in favour of a new online record. As part of the DVLA's digital agenda they wanted to abolish the last paper driving licence by January this year and instead keep all driving endorsements on a web service called 'Share Driving Licence'. In December they announced that this date had been moved to the 8th June 2015 to give them more time to implement the changes.
This week motorists who plan on traveling abroad have been warned they may need a special code from the DVLA if they want to hire a car. UK motorists will no longer be able to show their paper licence abroad as everything will be computerised, including any convictions for offences. This could possibly lead to hundreds of people being unable to hire a car while on holiday, as many car hire firms ask for the paper counterpart to check for offences or convictions. If you plan to hire a car abroad after the 8th June then you will have to get a code from the DVLA's website to show to the hire company abroad who may not be fully aware of the changes in the UK. This code will only last for 72 hours after it is given, so drivers may need to generate another code whilst on their holiday if you want to hire a car after the 72 hours. This could mean many people searching for internet café's during their trip in order to access the DVLA's website, something nobody wants to do while on holiday. Car hire firms can call the specialised DVLA number to try and get a code but at a cost of £3 a minute that may be added on to your hire charge.
The DVLA has advised motorists to destroy their paper licences after the 8th of June but the AA has said it is best to keep a hold of them for now. As mentioned many car hire companies abroad are simply not aware or have systems in place for the digital change, therefore the best option for now is to keep your paper licence just in case its needed for hiring a car abroad. The DVLA have said their 'Share Driving Licence' should be up and running in time for the changeover on the 8th of June.
Research from the RAC has shown that 55% of drivers are still unaware of the licence changes with only weeks to go until they are brought into effect. If you want to know more about the license changes, or want to request a photo card licence please visit https://www.gov.uk/exchange-paper-driving-licence.
If you are planning on going abroad after the 8th June and you want to hire a car you will need a special passcode which will be available on the DVLA website after the 8th June. To do this you will need to have your driving licence number and national insurance number ready. Once you have been given the code, you can give this to the hire car company instead of the paper part of your licence. Remember to get the code the day before you travel and remember that it only last 72 hours, so you may need to go online whilst abroad to generate another code.
By Jenna Niblock