Driving licenses went paperless on 8th June 2015 in England, Scotland and Wales. Licences issued prior to this date now have invalid counterparts, with the DVLA advising those that hold them to destroy them. However, the DVLA states that “Paper driving licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 will remain valid and should not be destroyed.”
The way in which this will affect Fleet Managers is that using the replacement online service, is now a prerequisite for personal car hire and for employees confirming their driving record to their employers.
There are obvious benefits in replacing driving licence counterparts with an online resource, chiefly that it keeps all information for individual drivers in one place. Because the service is interactive information can be updated at any time; such as change of address and penalty points for driving offences etc.
The new service proved to be a little too popular during its launch, however. The DVLA website, created specifically as the paper licence alternative, crashed on the first day of delivery, but was remedied as quickly as it was feasible.
Another issue, that the DVLA is looking into, is the need for individuals to know their National Insurance Number in order to access the online service. When hiring a car, access is usually made at point of sale, with few drivers having memorised, or carrying details of, their NI Number.
Despite teething difficulties the new responsive service offers drivers and fleet professionals an easy way to check the current driving status of any driver issued with a company vehicle.
The licence holder must grant permission for their driving details to be accessed by a third party, and must provide a check code generated via the Share Driving Licence website.
Owing to the access issues mentioned, the DVLA also provide two alternatives to this process:
If it’s not possible to generate a code online, license holders can call call 0300 083 0013, and the DVLA will provide them with a code.
A second safeguard for drivers is to simply call the DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for their driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.
A number of motor industry pundits are warning that following the DVLA’s advice may disqualify drivers from hiring vehicles abroad. They are advising drivers to retain their paper counterparts for this purpose.
For a full list of what licencing details can be accessed and which amendments can be performed online, please click here.
To view all of the changes applicable to paperless licences, click here.