Tuesday 20th January 2015
Be Wiser Insurance

There will be a six month delay to the abolition of the paper driving licence counterpart as the Freight Transport Association (FTA) convinced the Government that the online replacement to the paper driving licence was not “fit for purpose”. 

Paper driving licence counterparts were due to be phased out on 1st January 2015 and freight and car hire companies would have had to rely on a new online government solution to find information that would ordinarily be found on the paper counterpart. 

During late 2014 the FTA objected to the government’s short timetable for the retirement of the paper licence, pointing out that their member companies needed a system to check the validity of several thousand drivers per annum – and they complained that the proposed Government system was not suitable for their members’ needs. 

Instead, the changes are expected to come into force on 8th June 2015, when it is expected that the government will have an online solution that will meet with the approval of the FTA. 

The change comes as part of a move to bring motoring records online, as the DVLA aims to provide better services and save taxpayers money. According to a spokesperson for the DVLA, abolishing the paper counterpart will save drivers over £5m every year in replacement documents. 

What Drivers Need To Do 

Despite the issues the changes could cause for freight and hire businesses, most motorists are unlikely to notice anything different. 

Unlike paper licences which are free to renew, photo driving licence cards costs £20 and must be renewed every ten years. However, anyone who has an old style paper driving licence issued before the photo card was introduced in 1998, will not need to do anything until they need to change their name or address or renew their licence, at which point they will receive a photo card licence. Photo card holders should keep their paper counterpart until the changes come into force. 

There will be no charge for changing a paper licence to a photo card when do you need to renew. 

Anyone over the age of 70 will need to renew their licence every three years, free of charge. 

Entitlements, penalty points and the status of your driving licence will stay the same. 

A Welcome Change 

Mark Bower-Dyke, chairman of Be Wiser Insurance, comments: 

“For many drivers the abolition of this unnecessary counterpart will be a welcome change. This news also reminds us of the importance of having a valid licence. Motorists could face a £1,000 fine if they are caught with an invalid licence, so it’s important for everyone to make sure theirs has not expired and shows the correct name and address.”

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