As of this week, the paper accompaniment to a UK driving licence is being replaced by an online service, which the government has predicted will save taxpayers “millions each year.”
Figures show that the DVLA was responsible for replacing nearly half a million paper counterparts which had been lost or damaged.
There are currently 46.4 million licence holders in the UK, 8.7 million have ‘old-style’ paper licences from 1998 or earlier, with the remaining 37.7 million holding a photocard licence.
The switch to an online service will change the way in which drivers share their information to third parties and employers; drivers will be able to view their information online and create a ‘check code’ to share details with necessary third parties.
Transport minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “Replacing the counterpart with an online service will save motorists money and reduce unnecessary red tape.
“It will also benefit employers and vehicle hire companies. Relying on the counterpart meant relying on a potentially out of date piece of paper.
“Now, when the driver chooses to share it, those organisations will be able to see completely accurate information direct from DVLA’s records.”
Lord Ahmad suggested that the switch will improve road safety, as the paper counterpart has recorded the number of penalty points on a licence and which vehicle classifications they are permitted to drive.
Explaining the new system Oliver Morley, chief executive of DVLA, said: “It’s very easy to view and share your driving record. Just go to GOV.UK and search for ‘view driving licence’.
“You can view your information electronically and generate a check code which you can then share with people who need to see your details [such as an employer or car-hire company].
“If you want to, you can also download and print a summary.”