DfT to rip up paper licences

10.29 | 28 July 2011 | | 5 comments

The counterpart driving licence is set to be axed and will be replaced by an online database, the DfT has revealed (Auto Express).

The DfT says that the document, issued with the photocard licence, will be scrapped in 2014, and the old-style paper licences will be abolished shortly after.

The move comes as part of an efficiency programme at the DVLA, which will see driver records stored in an online database within three years. It is hoped that this will enable police to quickly check whether a motorist has any points on their licence, without needing to see the counterpart document.

Organisations such as employers and insurers will also be able to check an individual’s endorsements, too, although only with the driver’s consent.

The DfT has also said that it intends to recall paper driving licences shortly after the new system is introduced, labelling it a “logical follow-up to abolishing the counterpart”.

Click here to read the full Auto Express report.


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    Having just paid the requisite fees etc to re-new my Full UK DVLA licence, I was somewhat surprised to find that whne it arrived I had a shiney new Provisional Licence. On questioning the DVLA they state that the have no record of my details on my original licence. I was in the military for 24 years and held a number of military licences, as well as driving abroad on international driving permits, copies of which the DVLA will not accept as proof of my original entitlement. Anybody have any advice, or know of any similar cases I can use now in my complaint through the DoT.

    Darren W, Bournemouth
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    Will individuals be able to check the number of points on their licence when needed? When applying for insurance, would everyone remember the date and number of points? Can the DVLA be relied upon to remove the points when the penalty period is up?

    Andy, Medway
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    If the database is incorrect, how can you prove it? The DVLA ‘lost’ a lot of peoples motorcycle entitlements when they renewed their photocards last year, what assurances are there that a similar situation wont occur with this system?

    Dave, Leeds
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    Yet another database containing our personal information in which the data will be sold, lost, wrong, used without our consent or for inappropriate purpose.

    And why should police be allowed to “check whether a motorist has any points on their licence”? Surely each potential offence should be considered on it’s own? Otherwise one unjust conviction could very well lead to another.

    And how does this help “employers and insurers … to check an individual’s endorsements”? Surely that’s far easier with the paper record, or are employers and insurers going to have access to yet another database containing our personal information (for a fee, of course)?

    Dave Finney – Slough
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    On the face of it this appears a good idea but there are a couple of matters needing clarification. In particular hiring cars overseas. At present hirers in the USA and Australia in particular do not accept the photocard licence unless accompanied by the paper document as it does not contain the details they require. What assurance is there that the photocard licence will be accepted on its own after 2014. I can see UK hirers using the electronic database but what about some small company in the middle of nowhere?

    Chris Lee, Great Sankey, Warrington UK
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