What does the end of the paper driving licence mean for drivers?

What does the end of the paper driving licence mean for drivers? 30th April 2015

It's been a year of modernisation for the British driver, what with the paper tax disc, a staple of British windscreens for many years, having been eradicated in late 2014. And now, officials are taking the paperless world of driving a step further, with the paper counterpart driving licence set to be a thing of the past as of June. 

For almost two decades (since 1998), British drivers have held a two part licence – photocard and paper counterpart – but as of June 8th, the latter will be eradicated. It means that whenever drivers renew their licences after this date, the DVLA will no longer issue the paper part, sending back only a photocard. 

However, there is still some confusion over this change. So what does the move mean for drivers?

What if I still have a paper licence?

The DVLA has advised that as of June 8th, even drivers who have not renewed their licence will not need to hold the paper part of their documentation. It said that drivers should destroy their paper counterpart licence, but they must hold on to the current photocard licence they hold until they next need to renew. 

If you currently have only a paper licence – one issued pre-1998 – you can also get rid of this when you renew. Penalty points will no longer be recorded on the licence itself, with the DVLA's central database stepping in to hold this information. 

What if I need to change my details?

In the past, when it came to changing an address or other details on your driving licence, you would have needed to send the licence away with your new details filled in. The DVLA would then issue you with a replacement. Anyone who still holds a paper licence will still be able to do this, but there is also the option to simply update all of your information online, at which point the DVLA will send you a new photocard only. At this point, you should destroy your current licence. 

Will I have problems hiring a car?

One of the main things that have been documented in the last few weeks since the DVLA announcement is that people would have problems with hiring cars without a paper driving licence. However, the organisation is working towards mitigating against this in time for the changes. 

It said that by the time June 8th comes around, it hopes to have rolled out a new digital enquiry service that will allow organisations and businesses – including both car hire firms and employers – to view the information that is currently available only on the paper licence, and all at the click of a button. 

If you are hiring a car overseas, the DVLA has said that the service will generate a code that allows the car hire company overseas to see any offences – such as speeding – before they let you hire a car.

Posted by Danielle Barge