From 8 June 2015, the paper-based counterpart to the driving licence will no longer be valid and drivers and businesses will no longer be able to rely on it as an accurate record of a person’s driving history.

If your business requires licences to be checked on a daily basis, for example you provide courtesy cars or your garage includes a used car sales operation, there are obviously huge implications and you need to be prepared.

licence

If a motorist incurs any penalties, this will now be recorded electronically and not on the paper counterpart. If you do commit a motoring offence, photo-card holders will hand over their paper counterpart, which will be retained, whilst paper licence-holders will receive their licence back in the same format, but no updates will have been recorded on the paper counterpart.

It forms part of the move by the European Commission to create a smartcard style system for motorists as well as the government’s drive to digitise the data it holds on motorists thereby reducing red tape and public sector costs. The new card will eventually hold a host of data including iris and fingerprint biometrics as well as the holder’s photo and any endorsements.

If a driver’s licence was issued before 1998 when the photo-card was first introduced, it retains its legal status. However, whenever information is updated, for example, a house move, a photo-card will be issued. Photo-card holders should destroy the legal paper counterpart after 8 June as it will no longer have any legal status, although the actual card remains valid. As the UK has moved towards the new system, a driver’s address has not appeared on the existing photo-card from 2013/14.

Businesses can check licence information on the soon to be launched Share Driving Licence service. A further service, with a live date scheduled for the summer, ‘Access to Driver Data’ will provide real-time driving licence data via a business-to-business interface (or API) which will be subject to a contract and fees. Garage owners can also ask customers to access their own information via the View My Licence portal, but they have to enter their national insurance number and driving licence number as well as their postcode. Private motorists can also check their information on the portal at https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence where their details can be found including any endorsements.

Hosting such information on a central database also means that in the future when a motorist’s address changes, it will no longer be necessary to their licence to the DVLA for a new one to be issued.

As well as ensuring your business is in a position to handle the changes, you can also use this as a reason to contact your customers, especially those who would usually book one of your courtesy vehicles. Providing customers with useful information and keeping them abreast of changes which will affect their motoring lives will be well received.

You can also use the opportunity to remind your customers of the following:-

Spam emails

The DVLA has warned of spam emails providing an online link to check your driving licence information. The email informs the recipient they are due a tax refund and includes a 16 digit reference number, inevitably, they are then asked to verify their bank details via an online link. Needless to say, this is nothing more than a scam to elicit bank information from unsuspecting members of the public. Your customers are likely to be grateful for the alert.

Official government website

When updating or checking personal information, it is imperative to use a government website to avoid demands for administration fees. The DVLA warns that the websites are designed to imitate the official government website, but not to be fooled by the use of the logo or even the reference to the ‘DVLA’ in the URL.


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