Paper Counterpart Licences abolished from June 8 2015
Screenshot of the Gov.uk online View driving licence information service
There are new rules that you need to understand if you want to hire or lease a car after June 8 2015.
On this date, the paper counterpart of UK photocard driving licences will be abolished. Those bits of paper that you can never seem to find when you really need one to hire or lease a car can now stay hidden, because they are not needed any more - replaced by an online code.
But don't destroy it. The AA have advised that you keep it safe and sound just in case there are problems with hire companies or leasing companies, or even the internet access that they may have available. Better to be safe than sorry!
So what is it all about?
In keeping with seemingly everything else in the world when it comes to forms and information, all information is now viewable via the internet; and that includes any details of driving convictions or penalty points that you may have, your address details and licence number, and anything else that companies who previously wanted your paper counterpart for need from you.
It's all part of what is called the government’s Red Tape Challenge consultation on road transportation that is designed to cut through Red Tape and simplify the service provided by the DVLA.
You will still have to do a bit of work though before approaching the company with your request, and it involves you going online yourself to get a special code that the hire or leasing company will use to check for details of any convictions or penalty points that you may have and what vehicles you are permitted to drive.
But BEWARE! This code is only live for 72 hours (3 days) so if you are abroad and want to use it you will have to be able to access the website from wherever you are.
It seems that not everyone is aware of the death of the paper counterpart, and certainly that many people are not aware of the need to obtain this special code; so the DVLA has produced a video to help drivers ensure they are prepared for the changes.
How to get this online code
From June 8 the only way to do it is through the DVLA’s free View Driving Licence service, with all information only available with the consent of the driving licence holder. (Although the hire or leasing company can contact the DVLA with you in attendance, this cost a premium phone rate.)
Go to www.gov.uk and click on the 'Driving and Transport' link.
Click on the 'Driving Licences' link
Click on the 'View Your Driving Licence Information'. You will need your National Insurance Number, your Driving Licence Number and your Postcode as shown on your Driving Licence before clicking 'View Now'.
Fill in the details required and tick the box requested before clicking 'View Now'.
Check all the details before clicking on 'Share Your Driving Licence'.
Click on 'Create A Code' and you will get a one-off unique licence check code that you need to write down somewhere safe, ready for you to supply to the car leasing/hire company. You will also need to give them the last 8 digits of your driving licence number.
It does say to "Make sure that the person you’ve shared your code with can accept this form of licence checking" so this is another reason to keep the paper counterpart for now. Please note that you can also download all the information if you so require to supply to the leasing/hire company.
Then it is over to the leasing/hire company
They use the new access code and the last 8 digits of your driving licence to access your records and to check the information that they require.
This new requirement comes into force on June 8, but it seems that a lack of advertising and information will leave many drivers either unaware or unsure just what to do. And with the summer holidays fast approaching, and with many holidaymakers looking to lease or hire cars over that period, a summer of chaos could soon be upon us in the leasing/hire market.
But, as a reader of this blog; hopefully you won't be one of those involved in the chaos!
Here at Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, we will require anyone leasing a car from us to supply such an access code and the relevant information; not only for our protection but for drivers too in an attempt to beat fraud. For more information on personal leasing, visit our Personal Leasing Page.