The photo card driving licence and its paper counterpart were introduced in 1998 with the paper element allowing details to be entered that could not be included on the plastic card itself. These include any endorsements and the categories of vehicle the holder is entitled to drive.
This information will now be stored electronically and therefore will not be shown on any written documentation associated with the licence. From 8th June 2015, these details can be only obtained and checked via the DVLA online driver record system or in writing by post.
In addition, the paper counterpart (or the older-style paper driving licence) cannot be used or relied upon to carry the correct information about driving endorsements or the vehicle categories available to drive by the holder.
It is also important to note the change in procedure if you have to surrender your driving licence to a court in the event of receiving an endorsement. If you include the paper counterpart with your submission, the photocard element will be returned to you but the paper counterpart will be retained.
The paying of fines and the allocation of points will continue in the normal way.
For business drivers or for anyone driving for work, another important change is how you can provide proof of your driving record to an employer or car hire firm as your photocard or paper licence will no longer be enough in itself.
Drivers will need to access the DVLA’s Share Driving Licence service, which went live on 19th May 2015. They will also be expected to access details themselves, print them and submit them to a car hire firm or employer. Or they can call the DVLA and give a third party permission to check your driving record verbally (such as over the phone).
With many employers hiring vehicles on an as-needed basis, it is important to check with the car/van hire firm what information they will need. Other than downloading information as described above, drivers can obtain a special code (from www.gov.uk) which allows the vehicle hire firm access to your record for 72 hours in order to make any necessary checks. This process can apply to both holders of a photocard and a paper licence.
Drivers and employers may not be aware of how many of the current procedures are changing. Like with the abolition of the paper tax disc, they might assume it is business as usual with regard to licences.
The onus is very much on the driver and/or employer to obtain the information they need beforehand in order to drive a vehicle. We very much hope drivers and employers will not be caught out by this, such as being faced with a nasty surprise when trying to collect a vehicle ahead of an important business journey.
If you require assistance, please contact us.