We featured an article back in February which highlighted the problem motorists face with their photo identity driving licences. Not many people realised that the photo card part of your driving licence has to be renewed every ten years, and it is from the end of 2012 that the first group of motorists with potentially out of date licences, could still be driving on our roads.
What our previous article discovered however, is that a whopping 41% of drivers believed that the photo ID card was issued for life, and therefore from the start of January 2013, we could have around two million motorists on the road with out of date licences, and running the risk of a £1,000 fine.
Insurance experts say that it is the fact that photo ID cards have to be renewed every two years that is causing confusion and could also render drivers’ insurance policies invalid.
A small minority of drivers still only have the old all-paper licences, but these are no longer issued. If you are using one of these then you will find that typically they are valid until the holder’s 70th birthday, as long as personal details are still correct.
It was only in 1998 that photo ID cards began to be issued, and these have to be renewed with a new photograph to keep them up to date. Research from LV= car insurance shows that one in seven drivers does not know their licence expires after ten years and one in six has absolutely no idea when their licence runs out.
The fine for not having an up to date photo ID card licence is £1,000 as recommended by the DVLA, but it is the police have the final say in how much the decide to fine someone. However, since 2010, some 734,000 drivers have been caught driving with an out-of-date licence and have paid out £41million in fines, averaging around £56 a time.
You can also accrue penalty points and even a ban, and driving with an expired licence can also invalidate car insurance because the legal entitlement to drive has ended, said an LV= spokesman.
To see if your photo ID card is valid, simply look underneath your full name and date of birth, where you will see two dates under ‘4a’ and ‘4b’. The first date ‘4a’ is the date when the card is ‘valid from’ and ‘4b’ is the date when it is ‘valid to’.
Motorists with paper licences should also be warned as from 2015 these will be phased out and only photo ID cards wil be used. It has been estimated that a quarter of drivers are still using the old-style paper licences.
John O’Roarke of LV= said: ‘Even offences that seem innocuous, such as driving with an out-of-date licence, can result in fines or points. The Government needs to know where motorists live or what they look like so it is in the interests of the motorist’s pocket to ensure their paperwork is up to date.’
It is thought that the government is getting rid of the paper part of the driving licence as part of its ‘Red Tape Challenge’ to cut down on paperwork.
A spokesman said: ‘As part of a Government-wide process to get rid of unnecessary, burdensome and overcomplicated regulation, the Department for Transport is, among other measures, scrapping the regulation requiring motorists to hold a paper counterpart to their driving licence by 2015 at the latest.’