Change to driving licence ‘will save taxpayer millions’ – DVLA

From today (8 June 2015), the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence is being replaced by an online service. This will save motorists millions of pounds and change the way they share their information with employers and car hire companies, says the DVLA.

Last year DVLA had to replace around 445,000 counterparts because drivers had lost them, for which they were charged £20 each to cover the cost.

Transport minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “Replacing the counterpart with an online service will save motorists money and reduce unnecessary red tape. It will also benefit employers and vehicle hire companies. Relying on the counterpart meant relying on a potentially out of date piece of paper. Now, when the driver chooses to share it, those organisations will be able to see completely accurate information direct from DVLA’s records. This will reduce their risk and improve road safety.”

The paper counterpart includes information on a driver’s penalty points along with details of what vehicles they can drive. Drivers still need to keep their actual driving licence, whether it is a plastic photocard licence or an old style paper licence which was issued before 1998.

Explaining the new system Oliver Morley, chief executive of DVLA, said: “It’s very easy to view and share your driving record. Just go to GOV.UK and search for ‘view driving licence’. You can view your information electronically and generate a check code which you can then share with people who need to see your details (such as an employer or car hire company). If you want to, you can also download and print a summary.”

FTA warns members to be ready for driving licence change

BVRLA sets up licence advice webpage

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has set up an advice page for car hire customers concerned about the abolition of the paper counterpart to the driving licence and what it means for their rental.

The webpage, available at www.bvrla.co.uk/counterpart, also provides links to further information and contact details for the DVLA and vehicle rental operators.

Talking about the Government’s abolition of the driving licence paper counterpart from 8 June, BVRLA 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.

“Customers can take extra precautions by ensuring that their rental company has access to their endorsement information – available via the DVLA’s Share Driving Licence service or its call centre.”

Now the paper counterpart to the driving licence is replaced by an online checking service, the FTA is urging its members to make sure they’re ready. Endorsements will no longer be recorded on the paper part of the licence and employers will have to check drivers’ entitlements using the DVLA’s new online Share My Licence service or via a third party checking service.

FTA has provided a comprehensive briefing for members on its website – www.fta.co.uk – to help them prepare for the switch, which is part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge to reduce legislative burden.

To check if a driver has the correct licence, the driver himself must first request an access code from DVLA, which remains active for only 72 hours.  This is then provided to the employer, who uses the online service to make the check.

If checks can’t be done online, the driver can call DVLA to give permission for a check and the employer then uses a premium rate number to follow up.

Checking non-GB licences cannot be done on the same system – checks have to be made on a premium rate phone line during normal office hours.

Ian Gallagher, FTA’s lead on DVLA, said: “We want to ensure all our members are ready for the switch to online checking and know exactly what to do.

“Far from reducing the burden, FTA believes this new system will be more cumbersome for employers.  FTA members who employ hundreds if not thousands of drivers have complained to us that the proposed system adds time to the licence checking process forcing many to look for a cost alternative.’’

The Association is disappointed that, despite prolonged dialogue, DVLA has failed to develop a suitable online alternative which would provide an employer with the ability to check driver details in bulk, instead relying on a system which requires the licence holder to go online obtain a PDF or access code and provide that to their employer within 72 hours.

FTA says the Agency has also failed to recognise that not all employees are domestic drivers. Given the shortage of vocational drivers in GB, many operators employ drivers from Europe.  These drivers are encouraged to obtain a counterpart so that points can be attributed to an individual’s licence. From Monday, licences will not be endorsed with penalty points, therefore the only way an employer is able to check a licence being presented to them is by checking with DVLA.

Unfortunately, despite continued requests that this information be made available through the online systems, DVLA has failed to provide a facility other than a telephone number which is only available during working hours for employer to check licence details.

Gallagher added: “This is completely unacceptable. DVLA has had fair warning of this requirement and will mean that some non UK drivers reporting for work will be sent home if their licence details can’t be verified, this information must be made available on the proposed checking systems at the earliest opportunity.”

The association is urging DVLA and the Government to rethink its approach to licence checking and introduce a system that provides an employer with mandated authority from the driver to check licence details as and when required in bulk and free of charge.

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