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Changes to driving licence rules – what are the consequences for employers?

From 8 June 2015 a number of changes have been brought in regarding the operation of paper Driving Licences:

  • If you only have a paper driving licence (issued to you before the photocard was introduced in 1998) this will remain valid and you should keep this safe.
  • If you have a photocard Licence and a paper counterpart, you should destroy the paper counterpart. It has not been valid since 8 June 2015.
  • Penalty points will now be recorded in an electronic database and will no longer be printed on paper counterpart licences.
  • If you or someone else needs to check your driving record this needs to be arranged with the DVLA online or via the telephone.

Why abolish paper counterpart licences?

The DVLA estimate that it will save drivers around £8m per year in the cost of replacing lost or stolen paper counterpart licences.  It should also reduce red tape so as to modernise the system generally. There is a general move towards holding information electronically. 

What impact will these changes have on employers?

A clean driving licence is a requirement of many jobs.  When dealing with driving jobs the category of vehicle the employee is entitled to drive is also very important.  This information, as well as the Certificate of Professional Competence was set out on the paper counterparts.  It would have been easy for a prospective employee to produce an outdated or forged paper counterpart licence that could have hidden evidence of penalty points or disqualification. This could lead to disputes with Insurance Companies following accidents that may force employers to shoulder the costs of accidents themselves.

The new system allows the employer to access the employee’s driving records direct from the DVLA.  Permission has to be provided by the licence holder first of all but once given, the DVLA have authority to speak direct to an authorised third party to provide them with details.  An online service can create a code that would allow the third party to access the driver’s details for a period of up to 72 hours.  Hire companies would use the same system to check driving records before hiring out vehicles. 

Where can I access my Licence information? 

The DVLA Driver Record can be viewed online at their ‘View Driving Licence’ service.  They can also provide information to licence holders over the telephone once they have been provided with sufficient proof of the caller’s identity.

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