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Driving licence changes – 2015

You may have heard that there are some major driving licence changes happening on 8 June 2015. This is what you need to know!

There are currently two types of driving licence in use in the UK. Most people have a photocard driving licence, which is accompanied by a paper counterpart.

The photocard contains the driver’s photograph and personal details, and the paper counterpart contains details of the classes of vehicle that the driver is permitted to operate, and a record of any penalty points or endorsements that the driver has accrued.

This type of licence has been issued to any new driver, or to anyone who has changed their details, such as their address, since 1998.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about 7 million driving licence holders have not changed their details since 1998, and these people still hold the old fashioned paper driving licence. This type of licence contains all the driver’s details on one document, including personal details, convictions, endorsements and permitted classes of vehicle.

From 8 June 2015 there are changes that affect both types of licence. If you hold a photocard licence, the paper counterpart to the licence will be abolished completely. This effectively means that on 9 June 2015 you can put the paper counterpart through a shredder. Your photocard licence already contains details of some of the classes of vehicle that you are permitted to drive, but you will no longer carry around a copy of any penalty points, convictions or endorsements on your licence.Image showing Driving Licence Changes

If you still hold a paper licence, this will remain valid until such time as you change any of your details or until the day before your 70th birthday. However, as with the photocard licence, any new penalties or endorsements will no longer be recorded on your licence. If you subsequently change any of the personal details on your licence you will then be required to apply for a photocard licence.

For holders of both types of licence, the full details of the classes of vehicle that you are permitted to operate, and a complete list of any penalties and endorsements that you have accrued will be held on a central record, which can be accessed online. Details from the record can also be provided by phone or by post. The DVLA states that it has introduced these changes in order to streamline its services, and to help cut down on red tape.

In practice, for most drivers these changes will have little impact, except that you will have one less piece of paper to look after. The major impact will occur when you need to prove your driving record, or the classes of vehicle you can drive, to someone else. This may happen if you need to hire a vehicle, or if an employer needs to verify your details.

The easiest option is to use the DVLA’s new online service, View Driving Licence, where you can view all the details on your licence. As the licence holder, you can download these details and print them off as proof of your driving record.

All you need to access this service is your licence number, your National Insurance number and the postcode on your licence.

However, not all organisations will accept your copy of the details. In this circumstance, when you are logged in to the service you can choose the option to Share Your Details. This will generate a one-time access code which you can pass on to whoever needs to check your details. They can then use this code, along with the last eight numbers of your licence, and can view your most up to date details. This online service is the same whether you have a photocard licence or the older paper licence.

Understanding that not everyone is computer literate, the DVLA has also agreed that these details can be provided by phone or by post, but this may take a little longer.

Remember, these change come into effect on 8 June 2015. Until that date you will still need to retain your counterpart licence, and produce it to the courts if requested, or your employer or car hire company. Do not destroy anything until after 8 June 2015.

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Tax disc changes

The DVLA will no longer issue drivers with the paper tax disc starting October 1, 2014. The DVLA has decided to retire this old-fashioned but iconic way of proving you have paid your car tax and will instead be using their online database to identify drivers who have paid their car tax and those who have not.

Why Are Tax Discs Being Phased Out?

Britain has a large network of hundreds of thousands of hidden cameras that are used effectively to enforce numerous road laws by identifying vehicles using their number plates. Since the DVLA already has digital records of all vehicles in Britain as well as details of whether or not any vehicle owner has paid its tax for their car, it decided that paper discs used to signify tax compliance were no longer necessary.

My Tax Disc Has Not Expired Yet, Do I Still Have To Display It On My Windscreen?

You will no longer be required to display your tax disc on your windscreen starting Oct. 1, 2014, even if it still has some time left to run. The DVLA has all your car tax details.

How Will These Tax Disc Changes Affect Me?

All motorists will still be required to pay their tax the same way they used to every year.  The only change is that they will no longer be issued with tax discs to display on their vehicles. Many motorists, however, fear that they might easily forget to pay their car taxes without the paper discs to remind them.

What Will Happen If I Forget To Pay My Car Tax?

The DVLA will issue warnings to those who may have forgotten to pay before imposing a fine. If the driver happens to change their address, it’s advisable to notify the DVLA so that they can receive these messages.

What Penalties Will Be Imposed On Drivers Who Fail To Pay?

If the DVLA issues a reminder to a driver to pay up but the driver fails to comply, then they may be liable to a fine of £80, which will be reduced to £40 if the driver pays promptly, on top of the normal tax. Those who fail to pay the fine may be prosecuted in court and slapped with a hefty fine of up to £1,000.

I Have Just Bought A New Car, What Should I Do?Tax disc changes

If you have just purchased a new vehicle, you are required to promptly pay your car tax. Failure to do this could lead to a fine of up to £1,000. You can pay your car tax by visiting any of Britain’s 5,000+ post office branches. All you are required to do is bring your logbook or New Keeper supplement and the payment fee. People living in Northern Ireland need to bring their Insurance Certificate as well.

You can also pay your car tax online.

What About People Who Buy Used Cars?

It will not be possible to transfer unexpired tax discs from the original car owner to the new owner when buying a second-hand car. If you sell your car before the annual tax period ends, you can claim a rebate from the DVLA. On the other hand, if you buy a second-hand car you will be required to promptly pay your car tax.

What Should I Do If I Don’t Have A Log Book?

If you don’t have a logbook or have lost it, you can visit your nearest post office and apply for a new logbook and pay your car tax as well.

Will I Still Have To Bring My Certificate Of Motor Insurance To The Post Office When Paying My Car Tax?

You will still be required to bring all the relevant documents to the post office when paying your car tax. Drivers in England, Wales and Scotland do not need to present any Insurance Certificates and this still remains the case. However drivers in Northern Ireland are required to present a valid Insurance Certificate when paying their car tax.

Further information on the changes to the tax disc is available at www.gov.uk/dvla/nomoretaxdisc

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DVSA Launched

The government has announced the formal launch of the new Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

The new agency, which launched on 2nd April 2014, combines the functions of the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).  The merger brings together a wide portfolio of motoring services under one banner, employing over four thousand people and is aiming to provide a more efficient and convenient range of services to motorists.

The merger was announced after a consultation last year in which the government reviewed its motoring services agencies in a bid to both reduce costs and provide a better service to taxpayers.

The DVSA will be responsible for theory and practical driving tests and expects to carry out over 3 million tests in 2014.  It will also be responsible for regulating vehicle testing and will oversee the 28 million MOT tests carried out in the UK this year.

In addition to consumer testing, the agency will issue over eighty seven thousand operator licences and will inspect over seven hundred and ninety thousand commercial vehicles.

Commenting on the launch, Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said:

The creation of DVSA builds on the vital work that has already been done to improve road safety and offer modern, cost effective services for motorists. The merged agency offers the opportunity to increase efficiency and further explore ways of providing innovative, convenient services.

DVSA Chief Executive Alistair Peoples added:

By bringing testing and standards services into a single agency, we will make life easier for customers by putting them at the heart of the services they rely on and providing a more coherent approach to service delivery.

The two former agencies were already undertaking work to make driver and vehicle testing more flexible and convenient for customers. DVSA will continue to keep pace with customers’ needs and deliver services in a way which is both convenient and cost effective.

 

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