Driving licence fines threaten two million drivers

Victoria Ford Updating the licence is a vital legal requirement, says Victoria Ford of DVLA

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Many drivers face a fine of £1,000 if they fail to update their photo-card driving licences, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

It started issuing photo-card licences 15 years ago and more than 30 million drivers now have one.

These are usually valid for 10 years and there is a legal requirement for drivers to renew the photograph at the same time as they renew their licence.

However, two million drivers have failed to do this.

And this means they could be fined up to £1,000 should they be pulled over by the police, who then discover that the photo and licence is out of date.

Even failing to notify the DVLA that you have changed address could be costly.

Checking your licence

Photo-card driving licences are set to become mandatory in 2015, when new paper licences are officially phased out.

Start Quote

You can check these things online”

End Quote Paul Watters AA

Victoria Ford from the DVLA believes the reasons for updating the photograph on your licence are clear.

"Appearances can change and it is important that photo-card licences are updated every 10 years to ensure the police and other enforcement agencies have the best possible photograph to help them correctly identify whether a driving licence is being used fraudulently," she says.

"This helps prevent driving licence impersonation - stopping disqualified and perhaps dangerous drivers taking to our roads."

If you change your address or name, you have to tell the DVLA, so that your driving licence and car registration details can be updated.

Towards the bottom of the card, you will find the address the authorities have for you.

Normally the cost of renewing a licence is £20 but if you are merely updating your address, your new licence will be free.

Lack of knowledge

Research from LV Car Insurance shows that nearly a fifth of drivers they interviewed had no idea when their licence would run out, even though the expiry date is clearly shown on the front of the licence.

Drivers on whether they have renewed their photocard licences

One in 10 admitted they had not renewed their licence for more than 10 years.

The DVLA says that it sends letters to drivers whose licences are about to expire, but it is concerned that not everyone will check.

But it is not just failure to keep your licence up to date that can land drivers in hot water.

Paul Watters from the AA thinks there are a number of other issues that drivers are not even aware of, but which could cost them dear.

"There are quite a few things that drivers can be innocently get caught up in. For example, they may have insured their car, but their details may not appear on the Motor Insurance Database," he says.

"Also many people don't check their V5 document to see if their car is registered to the correct address. You can check these things online," he points out.

The continuous insurance enforcement penalty is £100 and a failure to register a vehicle can be a £1,000 fine in the courts.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    It would be better to have more of a positive reminder. Why go in with threats of fines first? I have a paper licence. Do I have to get a new licence? If so I would prefer to be informed of that in a civil way rather than threatened. I have no problem with renewing if required but some civility would be nice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    I have to renew my licence at least every five years; I'm a lorry driver. I also have to pay for that privelege by having a medical.

    Up until 1973, when the system was first computerised, you had to renew it every three years. No thought was given then to the cost of administering the system.

    A driving licence is a privelege, not a right. Pay up, get legal and stop whining.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Why should we have to pay for updates. We paid enough to learn to drive and pass our test. As well as car tax, insurance, MOT's and fuel tax.Enough is enough

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Charging £20 to update the photo licence is profiteering of the worse kind! I suggest they go find a better printer, as they are being either massively overcharged or are conning the public. Seems like they use the same people who do the passports, which also cost the earth! I wish to keep my paper one, it has served me well since they took my proper one away, now they want that!

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I encourage a steep fine. I personally am more likely to prioritise and ensure my details are correct and licence is up-to-date, if there is a threat of a £1000 fine. A £100 can be forgotten about more easily so myself like most people would be more reactive towards the matter.


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