DVLA states: “After June 8 2015, if you are hiring a vehicle or you drive for a living and you are asked to provide evidence of your driving record (entitlements and/or penalty points), you will be able to do this online for free by accessing our Share Driving Licence service.”
However, according to RAC spokesman, Simon Williams, “research shows that, with just over a month to go before the paper counterpart to the photo-card licence disappears, 55 per cent of drivers are not aware of the planned change.”
As the peak summer holiday months approach, this could amount to chaos and ruined holidays for millions of Britons hiring vehicles abroad.
A combination of hire companies abroad being used to checking the paper counterpart licence (and possibly being totally unaware of the change at DVLA) and British tourists similarly unfamiliar with the new system is likely to add up to confusion, chaos and frayed tempers not to mention holidays spoiled altogether if the car hire company refuses to hand over a vehicle.
Britons hoping to hire a car in the UK or abroad will need to obtain a special code from the DVLA’s website which they must then hand to the hire car company to enable them to check the driver’s record. This code is, however, only valid for 72 hours which may not be a sufficient period of time for someone hiring a vehicle more than 72 hours after access to the internet. It is possible to download your own record but it is questionable as to whether a hire company would actually accept this information.
DVLA’s steady march into the digital age is proceeding apace. Only time will tell if the transition away from paper counterpart licences is a smooth one or whether it turns into the chaotic scenario that many fear.