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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Problems already for UK licence holders following abolition of paper licence

From  yesterday 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart of the UK's driver licence was abolished as part of HM Government's "Red Tape Challenge" to remove unncessary administrative burdens on drivers. 

The DVLA will no longer issue the paper counterpart and from  now onwards all existing paper counterparts will no longer have any legal status.

There will be no change to the photocard part of the driving licence and vehicle rental companies will still need to check that document. This is where the problems could start.

According to a report in todays "Independent", the AA reported that a number of its members had had problems with the DVLA website yesterday. Under this new scheme, anyone wanting to obtain details of their licence to hire a car has to go to the DVLA website and provide their National Insurance number.

If you have not got the information just before  you set off you can have a situation whereby  you have just arrived late at Faro Airport in Portugal with your young family, now you will have to remember your National Insurance number (and that of your partner as well) if the Car Hire company needs more information.

The AA on their Hiring a Car page suggest that  you "Print your own driving licence record from DVLA's website - you'll need to know your driving licence number, national insurance number and your home address post code.

Obtain a code from the DVLA's 'share driving licence' service that you can pass to a third party (employer, hire car company). The code will only be valid for 72 hours and will give them one-off access to your online driving licence record to verify the printed copy." See Page Here

According to The Independent, yesterday the AA's president Edmund King said " There have been problems for some of our members. We have heard that a number have found the DVLA website very slow. Another problem is the need to give a national insurance number. People travelling abroad and hiring a vehicles could well not have this number to hand. We are pushing for a change on the website, so people are asked for their passport number instead". The relative page of the DVLA website is here  Unfortunately this National Insurance number does not appear on  the European Health Insurance Card - certainly not my one.

You can’t use the DVLA  service:•if your licence was issued in Northern Ireland
•to check the progress of a licence application
•to check historical information, eg expired penalty points or old driving licence entitlements The DVLA also has
updates and advice here

Hiring a vehicle: how to prove your driving record after 8 June 2015 - Information below is from DVLA website

From 8 June 2015, you may wish to check with the hire company what they need to see when you hire a vehicle. If you’re asked for evidence of what vehicles you can drive or confirmation of any penalty points, you can request a unique code from GOV.UK which allows you to share your driving licence details or you can download a summary of your driving licence record. The code lasts for up to 72 hours and will allow the hire companies to make any necessary checks.

If you cannot generate a code online then you can call 0300 083 0013 and DVLA will provide you with a code.

Alternatively, you can call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for your driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated hire company. This also applies if you have a paper licence that was issued before 1998.

Not all vehicle hire companies will ask for this information and we advise that you check with your hire company
Whether or not of course if you are overseas you can call the 0300 numbers, no doubt time will tell.

The trade association in Britain for vehicle rental the BVRLA's  Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney, said: “Replacing paper forms with digital services is a great idea, but the government has gone about this the wrong way by rushing the process and not giving enough warning to motorists.

“The online system being offered by the DVLA is far from ideal and the car rental industry is working with it as best it can. “We are confident that our members will keep their GB licence holder customers up-to-date with any new procedures, which should minimise any disruption for travellers." They too are offering advice at this page

It will be interesting to see how this all works out over the next few weeks as we enter the main holiday season. You might collect that hire car late at night at Faro without a request for more information on your driving record, but then you might not. The DVLA say this is progress and are offering a more efficient service or is this just another way to save money by the British Government.

What do other countries do? According to "Citizens Information" in The Republic of Ireland "From 2013 a new plastic-card driving licence has been introduced, replacing the paper driving licence. This is an EU initiative to introduce a secure, compact style of licence in all member states".

The NDLS - National Driver License Service website says "You are still required to produce your own licence for inspection when hiring a vehicle overseas; an International Driving permit (IDP) should be seen as a translation of your licence and not a replacement.

All countries in the EU benefit from a 'mutual recognition' agreement in respect of driving licences.

Under the agreement, Irish driving licence holders can drive in any EU country on their existing Irish driving licence so long as it's current and valid.

An Irish licence holder must be age 18 with a full licence to drive in most EU Countries. The following countries (Austria, Hungary and United Kingdom) allow a full licence holder to drive at the age of 17.

Other Countries
When driving in non-EU or EEA countries, an international driving permit (IDP) is required. This is recognised internationally and allows you to drive in most but not all countries across the world. An IDP is available to Irish residents with a current full Irish driving licence. The permit is valid for one year from date of issue or to the expiry date of the licence if less than a year. More information Here 

So at the end of the day it would be interesting to find out how other countries operate and what  additional information will be required when the renter of a vehicle produces his / her plastic licence at the car hire company's check in desk.



1 comment:

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