June 29th 2015

On the 8th June 2015 the paper driving licence disappeared as part of the UK government’s policy to streamline services and save money.  In fact the DVLA are advising that paper copies should now be destroyed unless your licence dates back to pre 1998 when the photo cards were introduced and even if you do date back to 1998 you will no longer have any new driving convictions or penalty points added, instead these will be added to your driving record online.

These changes are causing huge confusion for holiday makers escaping abroad in search of the summer.  You now need a special code which you access on the DVLA website, valid for only 72 hours, which allows the car hire company to check your driving details.  There has been lots of publicity in the media about this which is likely to increase over the key holiday months of July and August.

The move also affects businesses who offer employees company cars or whose employees drive their own private car on company business.  Employees should as a matter of course let you know if there are any changes to their licence such as speeding penalties and so forth.  Should you wish to check a member of staff or indeed check that a new member of the team has a clean driving licence then you will now need to ask the employee concerned to use the “Share Driving Licence service” which like hiring a car will give you an access code.  For your employee to do this they will need their national insurance number, driving licence number from their photo card and their postcode.  You can then access their driving details on the “Check driving licence service” online but you will need your employee’s special code and their driving licence number and you will only have 72 hours in which to do so.  You should also be aware that if you hire cars regularly for members of the team you will need to make them aware of the changes and that they will need to access their code before hiring a car though your hire car company should be able to advise you on their policy.

Finally it is worth reminding everyone that the photo cards are only valid for ten years and it is worth making sure that they are valid as you can face a fine of up to £1,000 if you are caught with an invalid licence and if you are lucky enough to be going abroad you won’t be able to hire that all important hire car to get you to your holiday destination.

JRW Chartered accountants in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Hawick, Langholm and Peebles.