DVLA scrap paper counterpart of driving licence next week

A week today, on the 8th June 2015, the DVLA will be scrapping the paper counterparts for driving licences and issuing photo card driving licences only.

Any new penalty points (endorsements) issued from that time will be recorded electronically only. This information will be held on your DVLA driver record and can be viewed online via the DVLA’s Shared Driving Licence service.

Employers will no longer be able to ask to see the paper part of your driving licence for evidence of endorsements and/or categories of vehicle you are entitled to drive.

However, with your permission, an employer can access the DVLA Shared Driving Licence service. The employer will be able to see details of any ‘active’ endorsements, even if the motoring conviction is spent.

Please note: We have put a number of questions to the DVLA about how this process will work in practice, especially with spent convictions. We’ll update this page with the answers as/when we get them.

What does this mean for people with motoring convictions?

There’s a couple of key points to note:

  • In the short-term, nothing really changes. As we understand it, the DVLA’s Shared Driving Licence service will continue to hold information for the same length of time as paper licences did. The length of time that a motoring offence stays on your licence is governed by road traffic legislation and will generally be either 4 or 11 years. This is entirely separate to the time it takes for it to become spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
  • If you’ve got motoring convictions on your record, it’s more likely that you’ll get found out if you don’t disclose a motoring offence when you’re required to, particularly if the conviction is unspent and you’re applying for insurance, as some insurance companies and brokers may ask for permission to access your driver records from the DVLA’s Shared Driving Licence service to validate any information you provide to them.
  • During 2015, many insurers will roll out the MyLicence service, a database containing the driving history of every licensed driver in the UK. MyLicence will give insurers independent access to your driving records including all endorsements, penalty points and driving convictions. It’s our understanding at this point that MyLicence will not share the details of spent convictions (even if they’ve not been removed from your licence).
  • Remember – you do not need to disclose spent convictions to an insurer, even if they remain on your driving record.

What next?

Our view

Online access to motoring offences is still relatively new, and we’re watching closely how this works in practice. We have been told by the DVLA that ‘MyLicence’ will not share spent convictions (once it starts being used more widely). In the meantime, it’s not clear how the DVLA Shared Licence record will work in practice.

We’re continuing to push for the DVLA to ensure that they do not share the details of spent convictions.

To help us with this, we’re particularly keen to hear from anybody who has convictions for drink or drug driving, where the offences are recorded by the DVLA for 11 years. Are these still available on your DVLA Shared Licence record once they are spent?

Given what we know about the DVLA in sharing spent convictions on paper driving licences, we expect this latest development to increase the number of cases that come to light where the convictions are spent but an insurance company or employer becomes aware of them.

For more information

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Christopher Stacey