The UK paper driving licence is being abolished. How will the changes affect you?

From June 2015, the counterpart to the photocard driving licence is being abolished. Here’s what you need to know.

From 8th June 2015, you’ll no longer need to worry about the scruffy part of your driving licence. That’s because the DVLA is abolishing the counterpart to the photocard driving licence, as the Government continues its quest to digitise 25 public services.

But how does this affect you? Read on to find out more about the changes to the driving licence.

Why did we need a counterpart to the photocard driving licence?

The counterpart was introduced in 1998 to display driving licence details that could not be included on the photocard. These details include current endorsements or penalty points and any provisional driving entitlement categories.

Historically, if the counterpart needed updating, say for example, to add or remove penalty points, it would need to be sent to the DVLA, which would send a new one back to you in the post.

So why is the counterpart section being abolished?

The counterpart to the photocard driving licence is being abolished as part of the Government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ consultation on road transportation. By shifting the operations of its motoring agencies online, the Government hopes to save an estimated £8 billion, whilst simplifying its services.

How will the new system work?

The existing photocard driving licence will remain in use, with the records previously shown on the counterpart moved online. This information will be made available to organisations and businesses who need to view it, such as employers and car hire companies.

The data will only be made available to those who have a right to see it and with the prior knowledge of the driving licence holder. Any penalty points will automatically be added to the licence and removed again when they expire.

What should I do with my counterpart?

Nothing yet, but after 8th June 2015, the counterpart will no longer have any legal status and can therefore be destroyed. However, paper driving licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 will remain valid and should not be destroyed.

The next time you need to update your name, address or to renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.

Can you check your driving licence details online?

It is now possible to view your driving licence details online at www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence.

They can do this at any time, it’s free and easy to use and available 24/7. Through this service drivers can check what type of vehicles they can drive and any endorsements they may have.

What information is currently available through View Driving Licence?

  • Personal details – name, address and date of birth and gender
  • Licence status (provisional, full, revoked or disqualified)
  • Licence expiry date
  • Licence issue number
  • The vehicles they can drive (either with full entitlement or provisional)
  • Penalties and disqualifications

How does a driver access the service?

To access the service the driving licence holder will need the following:

  • Driving Licence Number or personal details (full name, date of birth, gender)
  • Postcode
  • National Insurance number

So is this good news for the UK motorist?

Having a single photocard driving licence will undoubtedly make things easier, but there could be a financial benefit, too.

The Association of British Insurers has said that, thanks to the new digital system, motorists could see premiums falling by up to £15 a year. That’s because under the present system, insurers cannot check licence details when they sell a policy, meaning they have to include an element of risk in the premium.

Under the new system, insurers will be able to check the details in real-time, meaning honest drivers could see a drop in the cost of their annual policy.

Remember to keep hold of your counterpart until 8th June 2015, at which point it should be destroyed as long as you are a photocard driving licence holder.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Following on from the abolition of the tax disc on 1st October 2014, the disappearance of the photocard driving licence counterpart will mark another important step in the modernisation of the UK’s driving licensing systems. Ultimately, this should make it easier for motorists by dispensing with the need to post off the counterpart to have it updated with new penalty points or a change of name or address.”

Will you miss the paper section of the driving licence or are you concerned about the digitisation of our driving records? Let us know via our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RAC or tweet us at https://twitter.com/RAC_Breakdown.