Driving Licence Counterpart Abolition

07 July


What does the driving licence counterpart abolition mean for your fleet?

Why the change?

The DVLA announced that it would abolish the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence by 8th June, 2015.  This was brought about by the British government's Red Tape Challenge on road transportation.  This law does not affect people who have paper card issued before 1998. 

What now?

Now that the change has been put in place by the DVLA, we look at the advantages of this change, how to now check a licence and online alternatives in place. The change has also raised many questions for many motorists and fleet managers alike so we take a look at these as well.

How to check you licence

On the www.gov.uk website, there is now the ability to check your driving licence online. Here you can:

  • view your driving record
  • create a licence ‘check code’ to share your driving record with someone, eg a car hire company

If you are a fleet manager and need to check someone else's driving licence, you'll need to ask them for a 'check code' and will need the last 8 characters of their driving licence number. You'll need to check the licence within 21 days of the driver giving you their 'check code' and you can only use the code once.

Advantages of the change

There are some positives and negatives of the paper counterpart abolition, see below:

Advantages of DVLA Counterpart Abolition

  1. Use of Electronic Driver Electronic Checking Service (EDECS): The use of intermediaries such as the EDECS is expected to grow with the abolition of the counterpart. This will benefit third party users to get information directly from the DVLA with consent from the record holder.
  2. Digital Services: The DVLA aims to provide a replacement digital service for the use of businesses who have genuine needs for real time access to information on the counterpart. This real time access will be available on a new Integrated Enquiry Platform (IEP).
  3. Minimize Sharing of Records: This new service aims to minimize the information shared by third party viewers of one’s driver's record. With the new system, drivers can choose who to share their records with. Also, third party users will be given only temporary access when required.

Questions the change has raised

As this process took effect from 8 June, 2015, many motorists raised some questions such as:

  1. Can I destroy my paper licence? Only those issued after 1998 can get rid of their counterpart driving licence. So those paper driving licence made before 1998 remains valid. Ensure you keep your current photocard driving licence. From this date, penalty points will now be held in a digital driver recorder by DVLA. The driver or any authorized third party will be able to check this online, by post or phone.
  2. Can I still change my address? Address change can be done online. But even after the effect of driving licence counterpart abolishment, you can still use your counterpart paper document to change your address with the DVLA. A new photocard will be issued to those who only have a paper licence the next time they want to make changes or alterations to their address. 
  3. If I have an endorsement, How will the court or police record it?  The police have access to all drivers information electronically through the Police National Computer. All endorsement are electronically recorded after any court proceedings.
  4. Is there a new process for hiring a car?  The process for hiring a car remains the same for the hirer. There is only a slight difference in how the hiring company can view your details. The DVLA is in the process of developing an online real time access service where driving licence information can be made available to authorized personels after access rights have been granted by the driving licence holder.
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