A couple of weeks ago we spoke about the changes that will be taking place in October this year when it comes to your tax disc.

As many of you drivers may already be aware, this is just one of the changes that will be taking place in the coming months.

The paper element of your driving license is also due to be scrapped as of January 2015 in an effort to continue to digitise motorist’s records by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). This, along with the changes being made to the tax disc are being put into place in an attempt to streamline services and save the taxpayer money.

With one of the main reforms being the removal of the paper counterpart of the driving licence, how will this effect those who hold only a paper licence?

Drivers in Britain; what do you need to know?

The good news is, you will not need to take any immediate action. According to the DVLA, your paper licence will continue to be valid right up until the time it requires a renewal.

This means that even if you are a driver in the UK who holds ONLY a paper driving licence – which was issued for drivers before the photocard was introduced in 1998 – you will not have to make any immediate changes.

Only when you need to update your name, address or new your licence will you then be issued with the photocard part of your licence – and will no longer have a paper version. The change from a paper licence to a photocard will bring no extra charge to the driver when changing their details, the DVLA has confirmed.

However, when you become a photocard licence holder, it will need to be renewed every 10 years at a cost of £20. For people over the age of 70, a new licence is required every three years, free of charge. Updating any medical conditions, contact details or name will too mean the driver will then be issued with a photocard on return of their drivers licence.

Drivers who need to make updates to their licence BEFORE January 2015 will be issued with a photocard and paper counterpart, but any changes after this date will prompt just a photcard only.

Those drivers who attained their drivers licence after the photocard changes in 1998 can continue to use their photocard as normal; you will not require a newer issue as long as you make sure to update when necessary.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for motorists to access government services,” explains a spokesperson for the DVLA.
“Getting rid of needless bits of paper, making changes to free up drivers’ time, while saving money for the taxpayer, is all part of our commitment to cut unnecessary red tape. That is why we are introducing new and easy to use digital services that will allow drivers and businesses to check driving entitlement and endorsements. This means there will no longer be a need for the paper counterpart of the driving licence which will save drivers over £5m every year.”

The same spokesman then added that anyone thinking of hiring a vehicle abroad should make a note to speak to their chosen hire company before heading out; . “The old style paper licence will continue to be valid and we are able to confirm to a company, with the driver’s permission, the driving entitlements they hold. However, drivers may wish to check with the car hire company their requirements for proof of driving entitlement before travelling.”

So the good news is that, as a UK driver, there is very little you have to do to ensure that your driving licence is still valid after January 2015. If you are a paper-only licence holder who wishes to update your licence to a photocard even if you do not have any change of circumstances, you certainly can do – but this would require a £20 fee and a form of identification.

So what do you make of the changes to not only the tax disc, but now the paper driving licence? We want to hear your views – will this be a good move for British motorists? Will you be pleased at having to produce and keep track of less paperwork? Discuss with us via our Twitter and Facebook pages!

No matter which licence you hold, always make sure your licence is up to date to ensure that it is indeed valid. And drive safe!