Coronavirus: Expiring driving licences to be extended

A British driving licenceImage source, Getty Images

Expiring driving licences are to be extended for an additional seven months, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced.

All driving licences with an expiry date between 1 February and 31 August 2020 will be treated as valid for a further seven months.

It removes the requirement for a medical assessment for some drivers.

The extension will be automatically applied and new licences will not be issued during this period.

The new arrangements will be put in place in the coming days, as soon as a new EU Regulation becomes law.

"I understand that for many people at this time, in particular, having a valid licence allowing them to drive for essential journeys or to ensure they can continue to work is vital," Ms Mallon said.

"This new EU regulation provides a practical solution to a very real problem and ensures that those in this situation can remain on the road without having to worry about getting a renewal application processed, which for some requires a medical assessment."

She said the provisions cannot be applied to taxi driver licences, as they are not covered by the EU Driving Licence Directive.

However, those taxi drivers who do not have a medical condition to declare, will have their five-year taxi driver's licence renewed without a medical report.

Vehicle testing services

The minister went on to talk about the suspension of vehicle testing services due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said this had caused "significant inconvenience" for many people, including those requiring certification for specialist vehicles such as the carriage of dangerous goods vehicles (ADR) and those vehicles requiring an individual vehicle approval (IVA) test.

"I am pleased to announce that from 1 June, the DVA will introduce a statutory authorisation process that will permit the continued use of ADR vehicles on our roads, provided strict conditions and control measures are in place," she said.

"I also plan to reinstate IVA tests from 1 June, following consultation with staff and unions.

"The provision of IVA tests will be prioritised for those vehicles delivering essential services."