The Termination of Paper Driving Licences and How It Affects You

Recently, the government abolished the paper counterpart of driving licences in a bid to make the service more streamlined and accessible for both the authorities and citizens in the online sphere. For many people this will prove a drastic shift, and it is therefore vital that you fully understand what this means for your licence and driving culture in general going forward.

In this month’s article we’ll be breaking down the changes to show you how you will be affected by them. These changes have come into effect in England, Scotland and Wales only, with Northern Ireland having different rulings on licences that make the counterpart still valid there.

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Paper licences issued before 1998

If your licence was issued to you before 1998 then you will not have a photocard licence unless you have updated your address since. These types of licences are the only ones that are still valid under the new system, meaning you must not destroy it and must continue to use it and present it to the authorities should you receive a penalty or fine.

However, the change here comes in how penalty points are recorded on your licence; penalties will no longer be recorded on your paper licence but instead will be logged digitally.

Paper counterparts to photocard licences

The paper counterpart to photocard licences are now obsolete, holding no legal status since June 2015. You can destroy your paper counterpart if you have one, but you must keep your photocard licence.

Where your licence information will be stored instead

Any information that before would have been filed on your paper licence or paper counterpart will now be stored digitally, and will be available for you to view online from the government’s website here. From this page you will also be able to share your licence information with employers and hire companies readily and easily. The online service will provide you with a service code that you can share with those concerned and the code lasts for up to 21 days.

The information that will be stored digitally that you can view and share will consist of:

  • What vehicles you can drive
  • How many, if any, penalty points you have
  • When your licence expires or needs renewal

If you are penalised for anything you will still need to hand your licence, be it photocard or older paper licence, to the court, but when you receive the paper licence back it will not have been amended; your online licence will have been updated instead.

Why these changes have come about

HM Government have introduced these new rulings about licensing in an effort to cut red tape and bureaucracy, saving both money and time in doing so. As stated above you will be able to share your licence information with ease to those whom it may concern.

But using the internet may not come as second nature to some, and therefore people will also be able to access their licence information via mail or phone.

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