Paper ‘counterpart’ licence to be abolished

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is set to scrap the paper ‘counterpart’ half of the driving licence from June onwards, in an attempt to cut the amount of government red tape – and save around £8 million in the process. This green A4 part of the current licence is due to be abolished as of June 8, with details of any endorsements – such as speeding fines or other driving penalties – to be logged online instead.

What this means is that learner drivers who pass their driving test from June onwards will no longer receive the counterpart licence at all and drivers renewing their licence or changing their address will just be sent a new credit card-sized photo card. Any counterpart licences held by existing drivers will cease to be valid too, though drivers who have a paper licence issued before 1998 should keep hold of these.

Meanwhile, car insurers will be able to find the information currently logged on the counterpart licence through ‘My Licence’. This online service has been developed jointly by the DVLA and Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) and will allow insurers to confirm motorists’ driving history details online, which should cut down on insurance fraud – especially where drivers neglect to mention driving convictions that would increase their premium if declared. To access these data insurers would need to receive permission from the licence holder, however.

From June 8 when the DVLA ceases providing paper counterparts, motorists should destroy the green half of their licence but make sure to retain the photo card, though any pre-1998 paper licences remain valid and should be kept. Motorists will also be able to check their driver record online, over the phone or by post. The government’s ‘View Driving Licence’ service is already active, allowing motorists to check their driving history online, including the vehicles they can drive and any penalty points they may have received. Similarly, the police are able to check drivers’ licences from the roadside through the Police National Computer.

When it comes to changing the address on your driving licence, motorists will be able to do this online, but will only receive a photo card back from June onwards. As for bodies such as car hire companies, which currently ask to see the paper part when making licence checks, these will soon be able to view this information through a new DVLA online enquiry service.