Driver Licence Paper Counterpart Not Issued From 2015
The DVLA has confirmed it will stop issuing the photocard licence paper-based counterpart from January 2015. The purpose of this initiative – that was proposed in 2011 – is to minimise red tape and expenditure for motorists and the authorities.
At the time, Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: “Motorists shouldn’t have to keep numerous bits of paper just to prove they can drive and have bought insurance - we live in a digital age and we need to embrace that.”
Retiring the paper counterpart will have minimal impact on motorists. No action will be required (although licence holders will be permitted to destroy their counterpart if they choose).
The photocard element will remain valid and unchanged including entitlements and penalty points, etc. The government recognises that the counterpart is required by some organisations and businesses to confirm facts not available on the photocard. Employers and car hire firms, for example. To compensate, the DVLA is creating a digital enquiry service to provide real time information. Furthermore, it is important to note that the change only relates to the current paper-based counterpart for the photocard driving licence that was introduced in 1998 – not the old paper only licence. Those with the latter are unaffected.
History Of The Driving Licence In The United KingdomThe driving licence was introduced in the United Kingdom by the Motor Car Act 1903. Holders of this yellow(ish) document – that were not required to pass a test - were entitled to "drive a motor car or motor cycle". The wording changed in 1930 to "drive or steer a motor car or to drive a motor cycle". Shortly afterwards, the document's cover became red and holders could drive a vehicle of "any class or description". The Road Traffic Act 1934 required new motorists to pass a practical test before receiving a licence. There was a short grace period to prevent a rush of candidates, but from June 1935 every motorist - that started driving on/after April 1st 1934 – had to prove he/she was competent. Some of the test elements are still assessed today such as turning in the road. Interestingly, testing was suspended during World War 2 and the Suez Crisis. After various paper-based evolutions, the credit card size photo licence was introduced in 1998 to complement the soon to be retired counterpart. This convenient and secure photocard - albeit with evolutions - is likely to remain the standard format for some time.