New UK driving licence rules from June 2015 – what you need to know

July 10, 2015 by

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Most drivers in the UK can now wave goodbye to the paper part of their licence – it’s been axed in favour of an online system

If you passed your UK driving test after 1998, chances are you’ve two parts to your licence – a plastic photocard and a paper counterpart. From 8 June 2015, however, drivers can chuck the paper counterpart on their nearest recycling pile because the government has discontinued them – but what does this mean for private owners and fleet managers?

The old counterpart was an important way of keeping track of a driver’s endorsements, penalty points or disqualifications but from summer 2015 this will all be kept on a centralised computer database. This database will be the only legal source of this information.


Under the initially proposed system, drivers wanting to hire a car abroad would have to get a code from the DVLA in lieu of a paper counterpart. The original length of time this code was available was 72 hours. However, since this was deemed too short, the Government has now increased this to 21 days.

The DVLA in Swansea

Drivers that passed before 1998 only have a paper part of their licence – this will still be valid for the length originally stated but is no longer legal proof of endorsements and penalty points.

To obtain proof of a driver’s record, say for a job where driving is required or when renting a car, the DVLA is launching a Share My Driving Licence service – a free system. This is a secure system where the driver and enquirer both get one-time access to the database to check that driver’s record.

Changes to hiring a car

The DVLA introduced a coding scheme to keep track of people hiring cars. Drivers would have to access the DVLA website to get the code, because the counterpart licence was made redundant.

The previous amount of time the DVLA code was available for was 72 hours, but that’s now increased to 21 days.

Fleet managers must be aware of these new rules because their responsibility to the data they keep will change. They will now be more responsible for checking a driver’s record against the one held by the DVLA and will no longer be able to glance at the paper counterpart for reference.

Parting with your counterpart

Before you get wistful about all the great times you and your licence counterpart shared, why not check out our independent guides to road tax and car insurance? Then head over to our car deals page for our latest discounts, or head over to our car configurator to see how much you could save on your next car.