Business

DVLA gives more time for car hire planning

Driving licence counterpart Image copyright DVLA
Image caption Paper counterparts to driving licences have not been valid since June 8 2015

Travellers needing to hire a car abroad will now have three weeks to share extra driving licence details with hire companies instead of three days.

A new system requires motorists to access the DVLA website to generate a check code that allows companies to see whether a driver has penalty points.

The code was introduced after the paper counterpart licence that carries such details was computerised.

The DVLA initially allowed the code to stay "live" for just 72 hours.

The checking period is now 21 days.

The government responded after car hire companies complained of queues and drivers complained they may not have internet access while abroad to generate a new code.

The DVLA said that for those who do not have internet access, a phone number would also be made available - although this is not a 24-hour number.

"We're pleased that the DVLA has listened to industry feedback that the code lifespan was too short," said Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.

"This common sense approach will reduce queues at rental desks and give millions of renters more time to plan and arrive prepared ahead of their journey."

Motoring organisations were also concerned that many drivers and car hire companies were unaware of the new system, and those that were found it tricky to use.

The DVLA says using the system is not complicated.

"It's very easy to view and share your driving record. Just go to gov.uk and search for 'view driving licence'," said Oliver Morley, the DVLA's chief executive.

As a result of the abolition of the paper counterpart, all evidence of driving endorsements and convictions will be held online only.

The eight million or so old-style paper licences - which carry endorsements on them - will remain valid.

The system does not apply to Northern Ireland drivers.

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