DVLA Phases Out Paper Licences

DVLA Phases Out Paper Licences

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is phasing out the paper counterpart and will only issue the photocard driving licence starting 8th June 2015. The decision to eliminate the paper licence stems from the government’s Red Tape Challenge, and is aligned with the government’s recent abolition of the paper tax disc in an effort to digitise driver records and cut through bureaucratic red tape. The government estimates that phasing out paper licences will save drivers about £8 million in reduced fees.

What does this mean for employers?

As a business owner or manager, you must verify whether your employees who drive for work need to use a tachograph, have a valid licence and possess the proper qualifications. Failing to do so could generate a £1,000 fine for the motorist and expose you to liability for any injury, damage or death caused by your employees driving with an invalid licence while working.

Beginning 8th June employers can no longer use the paper counterpart to check driving information such as provisional entitlements and endorsements which is not listed on the photocard licence. Currently employers can verify employees’ driver information with their permission via:

  • Post for £5 per enquiry
  • Phone for 51p per minute: 0906 139 3837
  • Fax for £5 per enquiry
  • Electronic Driver Entitlement Checking Service, which charges set-up costs, an enquiry fee and requires organisations to sign a contract with the DVLA

Along with phasing out paper licences, the DVLA is developing a digital enquiry service for businesses that need real-time access to drivers’ information. The service, Share Driving Licence (SDL), requires employees to log into the View Driving Licence service, the free service for anyone to verify their own driving information, located here www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence. From there, users click on the SDL tab, which generates a one-time passcode valid for 72 hours. Users should provide this code and the last eight digits of their driving licence number to any organisations that need to verify their driving history. Users will also have the option to print a PDF of their driving history which they should print just in case. But as of 29th April SDL is unavailable, although the DVLA confirms it will be ready by 8th June.

Holidaymakers are especially cautioned to print their driving records, as many hire companies abroad require the paper licence and are still unaware of the change. Industry experts expect a rocky transition period following 8th June during which hire companies may refuse hirers who do not possess the paper licence. Click here for more detailed guidance: www.gov.uk/dvla.

SDL will initially be free, but that could change. The DVLA decided to initially not charge SDL users since drivers can present their paper licence for free. Currently, the DVLA only discloses driver data with the licence holder’s explicit consent, but in the future the DVLA may offer entitlement checks without the driver’s consent.

What does this mean for employees?

Employees with paper driving licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 should keep their licence. The next time they update or renew their licence, they will only be issued a photocard. As a precaution, licence holders should refrain from destroying their paper counterpart until SDL is available.

For more information on the latest government changes affecting UK businesses, contact the insurance professionals at amb Insurance Services ltd today.