Forthcoming changes as part of the government’s initiative to reduce red tape will do away with the paper counterpart of the photocard driving licence and impact the ways that critical driver information can be accessed.

From 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence will become invalid (except for photocard licences issued by DVA in Northern Ireland) and the DVLA will cease to issue the paper counterpart with new licences.

For most commercial vehicle insurance policies and even some car insurance policies, the insurer asks for a copy of your driving licence (paper counterpart and the front and back of your photo card) to check the identification details are correct (date of birth, place of birth, type of licence, expiry date and address). One of the main reasons is simply that people do not declare their driving convictions at quotation stage and this can severely effect the premium due to their previous driving history, particularly if they are a high risk driver.

The paper counterpart to photocard licences used to such information especially the driving provide address details, categories of entitlement and the recording of driving offences and fines. Previously, this counterpart and the pre-1998 paper licences used to be updated to reflect any changes in driver entitlement or penalties. However, from 8 June this will no longer happen. As a result of changes to the recording of this information, insurers will require your driving licence information directly from the DVLA system itself – some companies may want the policy at inception (i.e. when the policy goes live) and some will give 7-14 days to get the information in

So what are the options?

Check online

The DVLA have introduced two new developments. The first is called ‘View My Licence’. This facility is designed for the licence holder only and replaces the information that was available to view on the counterpart. Access is prohibited only to the licence holder; this service is not designed for use by insurers or businesses/employers.

The second development is called ‘Share my Record’ and allows you, the licence holder to create a “one off” licence check code to share their driving record with a third party, e.g. their insurance broker, employer or a car hire company. This code is unique and valid for 72 hours. This means that your broker can access an individual’s record online to ensure that all the information is correct. More information can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/check-driving-information

Check by post or phone

Insurers and businesses can still contact the DVLA for a check, at a cost of £5 per check, or use the call centre service which is payable using a premium rate number. In both cases, the driver’s permission is required.

Employers must also make sure that anyone they employ to drive has the right licence and qualifications. It’s clear that there are cost and time benefits of using the new online system but whatever the method used, we endorse VOSA’s recommendation that employers check their drivers’ licences on a quarterly basis.