June 30 2015.

Driving licence changes that came into effect on the 8th of June 2015 – pretty much at the start of the holiday season - could cause chaos for travellers picking up hire vehicles in foreign countries. The DVLA axed the paper counterpart, which previously accompanied the driving licence photocard, and says it should be destroyed. What happens though if, like a large portion of the British population, the hire company hasn’t heard about the changes?

Many organisations are advising drivers to take the paper counterpart with them as a backup since information on penalty points and other traffic offences that hire companies want to check, is now be held on the DVLA’s database and can only be checked online, by phone or post. An access code will need to be obtained that will allow a car hire company to check the driver’s details via the internet prior to taking a vehicle.

To obtain the access code, drivers will need to log on to the DVLA’s website and enter their driving licence, national insurance number and post code. The code will be valid for 72 hours, so anyone hiring a vehicle more than three days into their trip will need to log on and get a new code. Alternatively, the driver record can be downloaded and printed, however, some motoring organisations recommend checking with the hire company first to ensure this is an acceptable form of proof.

The hire desk operator could be forced to ring the DVLA’s premium rate helpline if a driver arrives without an access code or printed document. This could cost up to £3 a minute and guess who’ll be paying ….

CLICK HERE to view and check your driving licence information.