DVLA changes to bring holiday chaos

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Holidaymakers are being warned to expect a summer of car hire disruption. The DVLA is to scrap the paper counterpart of driving licences from 8 June, drivers will need to obtain a special online code before heading abroad – or they may be refused a rental car.

The DVLA is abolishing the paper counterpart that accompanies all UK photocard licences which will no longer be legally valid. All endorsements will be held electronically on a web-based service called “Share Driving Licence”.


Fears are growing the new rules will lead to some hirers being turned away by car hire firms because they insist on examining the paper document to check on any endorsements or bans.

After 8 June holidaymakers will have to log on to the DVLA website the day before they leave and input their driving licence number and national insurance number. The system will then generate a one-time passcode which the holidaymaker can give to the hire company when they arrive at the desk.

However, the code is only valid for 72 hours, which means holidaymakers hiring a car in the second week of a foreign trip having to find an internet cafe and log on abroad, or pay roaming charges, if they want to show the car hirer their record. If they fail to produce the online code, the car hire firm may call the DVLA’s premium rate line (charged at up to £3 a minute) to check the driver’s status – if they can get through.

The Share Driving Licence system, which is still being worked on, will be ready in time for 8 June. Consumers will also be able to download their driving history as a printable PDF, although it is unclear whether all car hire firms will accept that.

Few people seem to be aware of the changes, even including people working close to the industry. Car Hire Staff can phone the DVLA’s 0906 premium rate number, and charge the customer accordingly. However, the DVLA couldn’t say what would happen to car hirers abroad as foreign hires are not part of its remit.

Holidaymakers are advised to follow the DVLA instructions but at the very least to take their national insurance number with them. Also obtain a PDF copy of your driving history from DVLA prior to heading off on holiday is “probably a wise move especially in the first months of transition”.

To access your driving history, the car hire company will enter the last eight digits of your driving licence, plus the passcode you have brought with you. Or you can do it at the desk with your smartphone if you can remember the website address, don’t mind the data roaming charges, can remember your national insurance number and are impervious to the long queue developing behind you!

Thanks to Stacey Holwett of Howlett Leasing ( ) for this information



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Guest Thursday, 06 August 2020