Overseas car hire may require a code

Overseas car hire may require a code

Most motorists are unaware of changes to overseas car hire only weeks before they are introduced, the RAC has warned.

From June 8, drivers may have to go online to get a code when renting a vehicle - as it's on this date the driving licence's paper counterpart goes fully computerised.

This new code is not mandatory, though, and is dependent on the terms of individual hire firms, meaning it's important those hiring a car check with the hire car company.

Motorists will need to log onto the DVLA website to obtain a code before they hire an overseas motor - in order to declare any convictions, such as speeding.

But the RAC says only 45% of motorists know about the switch.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "Our research shows that with just over a month to go before the paper counterpart to the photocard licence disappears 55% of drivers are not aware of the planned change.

"More than a third (35%) of motorists, however, believe it is a good idea that will help to simplify the process of making changes to their licences, and very few thinking it to be a bad decision.

"The DVLA has for some time provided an online facility for drivers to check penalty points' information on their licences and doing away with the counterpart was the logical next step.

"The issue that held up the move was providing drivers' information in a format that would work for car hire companies.

"While this has now been addressed there will, no doubt, be a settling in period where rental companies, particularly abroad, come to terms with the change.

"Hopefully this will not lead to too many unwanted holiday dramas for Brits hiring cars abroad this summer.

"While many people hiring cars for a holiday or work may do so online well in advance of travelling - possibly needing a code to share their licence details with the hire company - it may also be wise to request a second code just before travelling so as not to be caught out should a further check be required on collection."

The code remains valid for 72 hours so motorists wishing to hire vehicles more than 72 hours after generating the code will have to go online and access a fresh code from the DVLA website while overseas. Drivers who have no internet access will have a special phone number made available to them.

Although the new code is an extra thing motorists will have to keep in mind when travelling to Europe or further afield, it will mean there is one less piece of important paperwork to take away. Besides booking services such as European breakdown cover , they should also familiarise themselves with the motoring laws of any country they are visiting.

Drivers are advised by the DVLA to destroy their paper licence from June 8.

The car rental industry said that firms are still finishing their preparations for the switch and claimed the matter remains unclear. Pre-1998 paper licences will stay valid, but their owners will still require a special code to completely validate them.

Drivers can visit the Government's View My Driving Licence Information page to see a full record of any convictions they may have accrued. A postcode, and driving licence and NI numbers will gain drivers access to this.

Copyright Press Association 2015

https://www.racbenefits.co.uk/offers/rac-car-hire (overseas car hire)

https://www.gov.uk/contact-the-dvla (DVLA website)

https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence (View My Driving Licence)