Driving licences have changed – here’s what you need to know

As of the 8th of June, driving licences have undergone a few changes. Read this post to learn about what’s changed and how it affects you.

The paper counterpart to your driving licence is no longer valid

In order to simplify the way driving licences are issued and checked, the big change is that the paper counterpart to your licence is no longer valid. New licences are now being issued with just the photocard. This change will doubtless come as a relief to anyone who’s ever forgotten the paper part of their licence when attempting to hire a car or take their driving test!

The official Government advice to those who hold paper counterparts to their licence is to destroy this document, as you won’t be needing it anymore. However, if you hold a paper-only licence issued before 1998, it is still valid and so should not be destroyed. If you then need to update any information on your licence, such as your name or address, you’ll be issued with a standalone photocard.

You can now view your DVLA driving record online

The paper counterpart to the driving licence was originally designed to hold information on your driving history that couldn’t easily be displayed on the photocard, such as the categories of vehicle you’re licensed to drive and any penalty points you have on your licence (such as points given for speeding).

Now that the paper counterpart is no more, you can view your complete DVLA driver’s record online by going to this page on the Gov.uk website. If you have any penalty points added to your licence, you’ll still have to pay the fines and give your licence to the court, but the points won’t be recorded on your photocard. If you’d rather not view this information online, it’s also available by post or over the phone.

Proving your driving record

So what happens if you need to prove your driving record to a potential employer or to a car hire company? Luckily, the DVLA has thought of that and has provided a handy free ‘Share Driving Licence’ service that generates a ‘check code’ that you can give to the employer so that they can view your driving licence information online just like you. If your employer needs to check your licence regularly, there’s a ‘Check Driving Licence’ service as well.

The same system can be used if car hire companies request to see your driving history. Alternatively, you can download your driving history to print out and take with you, so it’s worth finding out what information they require when you’re looking into car hire. If you’re not comfortable with using the internet to access this information, you can also call the DVLA (0300 083 0013) and give them permission for a named car hire company to check your record.

Find out more about the changes to driving licences and watch the DVLA videos at gov.uk.

Image credit: Paul Townsend/Flickr