For a number of years driving licences consisted of two documents, the photo card driving licence and a paper counterpart. With effect from 8 June 2015 the paper counterpart will no longer be valid. No such counterparts will be issued by the DVLA.
This change attracted media headlines, many of the articles commenting on the potential difficulties drivers would have when it came to hiring a vehicle. Many car rental companies, particularly outwith the UK, require sight of the paper counterpart to allow them to check endorsements.
The DVLA have put in place a Service to allow a driver to check his/her driving licence details. This service allows the driver to create a temporary licence check code. This code can then be given to someone else such as a car rental company and the company can then check the driver’s licence details. An individual code is valid for 72 hours.
The DVLA change also affects the way the Courts will deal with driving licences and in particular endorsements.
With the abolition of the paper counterpart, endorsements will now be only held electronically. A Court will use that electronic record when considering sentencing on road traffic offences. Similarly, Court staff will use the system when they are processing fixed penalty payments to check for endorsements.
Not surprisingly, if a fixed penalty requires an endorsement and the number of points to be added means that the driver will have twelve or more penalty points in a three year period, the driver cannot use the fixed penalty procedure and will be liable to prosecution.
After 8 June 2015 production of the photo card and paper counterpart to a Court will result in the Court holding onto the paper counterpart and sending it on to the DVLA who will destroy it.
A photo card driving licence will be sent back to the driver by the Court subject to certain exceptions:-
- The driver was disqualified by the Court for fifty-six days or more
- The driver was disqualified as a result of twelve or more penalty points within three years (totting up)
- The driver is a “new driver” in terms of the legislation, the points imposed will take the licence to six or more within two years of passing the driving test as a result of which the driver’s licence will be revoked.
As many members of the public never paid much regard to their paper counterpart, its disappearance will probably not be missed, until they come to rent a vehicle!