Driving licence fines threaten two million drivers

Victoria Ford Updating the licence is a vital legal requirement, says Victoria Ford of DVLA

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Many drivers face a fine of £1,000 if they fail to update their photo-card driving licences, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

It started issuing photo-card licences 15 years ago and more than 30 million drivers now have one.

These are usually valid for 10 years and there is a legal requirement for drivers to renew the photograph at the same time as they renew their licence.

However, two million drivers have failed to do this.

And this means they could be fined up to £1,000 should they be pulled over by the police, who then discover that the photo and licence is out of date.

Even failing to notify the DVLA that you have changed address could be costly.

Checking your licence

Photo-card driving licences are set to become mandatory in 2015, when new paper licences are officially phased out.

Start Quote

You can check these things online”

End Quote Paul Watters AA

Victoria Ford from the DVLA believes the reasons for updating the photograph on your licence are clear.

"Appearances can change and it is important that photo-card licences are updated every 10 years to ensure the police and other enforcement agencies have the best possible photograph to help them correctly identify whether a driving licence is being used fraudulently," she says.

"This helps prevent driving licence impersonation - stopping disqualified and perhaps dangerous drivers taking to our roads."

If you change your address or name, you have to tell the DVLA, so that your driving licence and car registration details can be updated.

Towards the bottom of the card, you will find the address the authorities have for you.

Normally the cost of renewing a licence is £20 but if you are merely updating your address, your new licence will be free.

Lack of knowledge

Research from LV Car Insurance shows that nearly a fifth of drivers they interviewed had no idea when their licence would run out, even though the expiry date is clearly shown on the front of the licence.

Drivers on whether they have renewed their photocard licences

One in 10 admitted they had not renewed their licence for more than 10 years.

The DVLA says that it sends letters to drivers whose licences are about to expire, but it is concerned that not everyone will check.

But it is not just failure to keep your licence up to date that can land drivers in hot water.

Paul Watters from the AA thinks there are a number of other issues that drivers are not even aware of, but which could cost them dear.

"There are quite a few things that drivers can be innocently get caught up in. For example, they may have insured their car, but their details may not appear on the Motor Insurance Database," he says.

"Also many people don't check their V5 document to see if their car is registered to the correct address. You can check these things online," he points out.

The continuous insurance enforcement penalty is £100 and a failure to register a vehicle can be a £1,000 fine in the courts.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    you dont see so much of the old bill on the roads these days so I wont lose any sleep over it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    I know someone local who received this fine for not updating their driving licence after the moved. It was a few years after so there was no real excuse. However I also know someone who crashed their car into a lamppost drunk and ran away from the scene. Their punishment? £200 fine. Where is the justice in that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Why should we have to pay for updates. We paid enough to learn to drive and pass our test. As well as car tax, insurance, MOT's and fuel tax.Enough is enough

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Charging £20 to update the photo licence is profiteering of the worse kind! I suggest they go find a better printer, as they are being either massively overcharged or are conning the public. Seems like they use the same people who do the passports, which also cost the earth! I wish to keep my paper one, it has served me well since they took my proper one away, now they want that!

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    16 - photo licences were brought in with renewal requirement 15 years ago. What has this to do with the present government?
    How about focussing on those driving without a licence/no insurance/MOT? They are the danger on the roads not those who have failed to renew a photo licence. Those of us who had a paper one didn't have to renew until 70 so conned by the last lot!.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    My driving license was updated just over 16 years ago, I have'nt moved since and have 26 years left before it expires....

    Am I guilty of anything ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I encourage a steep fine. I personally am more likely to prioritise and ensure my details are correct and licence is up-to-date, if there is a threat of a £1000 fine. A £100 can be forgotten about more easily so myself like most people would be more reactive towards the matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I have to say that I am becoming more confused by the day, this has little or anything to do with our driving license cards. Why oh why have we not introduced the simple European method of having to display your valid insurance in the window of your car along with your valid registration. This would stop uninsured, banned drivers from driving on our roads. They are easy to spot and stop.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    I still have the old paper-based driving licence. It is getting a bit tatty round the edges but still which works perfectly well. It clearly states on the licence that it is valid till 202* when I reach the age of 70. I don't wish to get a new photcard licence in 2015 and, provided I stay at my present address, I see absolutely no need to get one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Yawn, more fines aimed at people who drop the ball which will be ignored by those who drive scrap cars that aren't registered. It seems more and more the government wants to penalise playing by the rules and positively encourage people to drive some old piece of junk that officially doesn't exist. No speeding tickets, no parking tickets, and if it gets towed you just buy another one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Not sure how it can possibly be a Coalition stealth tax, when the photo licence was brought in in the UK back in July, 1998


  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    When you need to renew the photo-licence (and be honest, everyone changes with age), you receive a reminder with renewal form about 2 monthe before it expires. You can then renew it on-line if you have a passport that is less than 5 yrs old or simply send the form to DVLA.
    No excuse not to renew it.
    I don't know any other country that does not use a photo card driving licence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Isn't it obvious to everybody that the photo driving licence updated every ten years has actually nothing to do with driving, it's simply a back door ID card for the peasantry, something which has not been approved by an act of parliament.
    Countries that do have compulsory ID cards use them mainly to arrest people for not carrying their ID card.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.


    You will find this was brought in by the people who insisted we have photo licences which was labour, they didnt advertise the 10 year renewal at the time.

    typical of Government, people really do need to read the small print with all government policy and not just listen to them spouting benefits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Another government money making pseudo tax. Glad I still have a good old paper licence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Some years back, for medical reasons, I had to surrender my licence and stop driving for three years. I now have it back. People should stop whinging and consider how much a privilege it is to be able to drive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I comment but the police look at facebook, and things like these :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    What makes this stealth tax worse is that it hits the "average law abidding" citizen the most. You've done your test, you tax your car, it's MOT'd and you have insurance, however fail to update your drivers license on time and "up to" £1000 fine. Steal a car, right it off into someone's property with no insurance; 12 months suspended sentence and an £80 fine paid at 50p a week.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Well, our cage has been rattled again -- keeps us busy though whilst bankers go unpunished and the politicians blunder along,now screwing up our relationship with the EU

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    In the old days these were outlawed as PROTECTION RACKETS run by gangs.

    Just as a point to Geezers comment NO ONE VOTED THESE IDIOTS IN they just colluded to screw everyone and still crying that everyone else put them in this situation.


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