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could be fined up to £1,000 should they be pulled over by the police, who then discover that the photo and licence is out of date.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 242.

    Witnesses do not by law have to produce their driving documents to the police Durham Guy and why was your reaction to being fined for your out of date licence not to be more careful but to criticise the police? Not having a valid licence meant you weren't insured either but I suppose you'd blame the police for that as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    Computerworld UK | Published 12:10, 04 May 12

    "The DVLA has awarded a contract for the administration of UK drivers’ licences to Gemalto...the original tender notice valued the contract at between £60 million and £300 million"

    As usual the costs (of applying for the licence and maintaining it) are socialised and the profits are privatised.

    "Gemalto - security to be free"


  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    I have no sypathy for those fined for failing to renew, it is all there in the small print and if you can't be bothered to read it then that is your own fault. HOWEVER my paper licence clearly says it is valid until I am 70 and it is there in the small print so why should I change at my expence to suit some jumped up government oik.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    Do we have a lawyer in this forum who can comment on suing the DVLA for effectively reneging on the predetermined validity of already issued driving licences? Promissory estoppel comes to mind - you can't change the rules half way through a valid term of reference. Next they'll be asking for front and back photos in passports at the holder's expense even if the passport is still valid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    It's not whining. It's about the age old chestnut 'Ignorance of the law is no excuse' etc. Really? Anyone reading this care to spiel off every law on statute book?? Some one needs to challenge that see if it isn't actually infringing your human rights. Can't make ignorance of a law a crime..

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    I would suggest that in view of the conduct of the DVLA / DVLNI both organisations are not fit for purpose and should be closed down.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.


    Grow up, just because you have something today doesnt mean you guaranteed the same tomorrow, life has NEVER ever been like that

    NONE of your rights/benefits are written in stone.

    Apparantly, 10 years is either too much or not enough advance notice for many, lol.

    Many hate nanny state, but so many expect state to still tell them when to change their nappys

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    This isn't really about politics....more the Civil Service ( who actually make and implement the policies) looking for yet another way for the State to take control of all of us - or rather the large majority who 'play ball' without question.
    This may be more about raising money for pension contributions for state workers than anything to do with your car.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    Driving is a damned expensive passtime, unfortunately it's also a necessary evil if my disabled partner is to get out of the house. I had a feeling that the introduction on photo licenses was just an excuse for the DVLA to extort even more money from drivers. Personally I'd like to see alongside the renewal of licenses a refresher course to ensure licensed drivers are capable drivers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    The DVLA are unhelpful jobsworths. I'm an expat; I have homes in New York and New Zealand, and a house in Scotland I visit occasionally, 2-3 weeks a year. I keep a couple of cars in the UK and have a UK license. Would the DVLA let me update my address to my new address in New York? No; dumb DVLA computers can only take UK post codes! So wrong address on V5 & license. Well, I tried... not my fault.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    If driving a vehicle is not part of your job then a driving licence is a privilege - not a right.
    If you don't like all the rules, regulations and charges then get the bus.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    I am proud of my paper licence, I have had it since I was 17 and yes, it a little tatty round the edges, but it valid until I am 70. I don't want something else to carry around, you have to carry a paper part & a plastic part, I need a bigger purse/wallet! I 'mislaid' my paper one and paid for the new photo card, funnily enough the old one turned up in the safe, so there it stays.History!

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    183. Timperley Ted

    CORRECT - it's the paper counterpart of the Photocard license that will be withdrawn. That is all that has been announced - so far?

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    Just another weary stealth tax !

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    Could you not avoid the fee by altering addresses to a friend's for a few days, applying, altering back and re-applying?

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    And if the government want's to do things for a good reason I think you will find the vast majority on here have no issues with it at all.

    What people in this country have issue with is the fact that the governments always seem to be on the take, I mean common £20 to update a license it is nothing more than a money making exercise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    @LUFC_FC (199)

    "It appears that "Rip-off Britain really is true. It's a rip-off."

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Are you SERIOUSLY telling us you've only just realised that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    All EU licenses are valid in the UK (part of EU law) so there is no need to change them until they expire when you have to get a local license. This is the case in all EU countries. I have a UK license, I live in Germany, it still has my UK address because the DVLA does not accept foreign addresses, even though it is valid here! Also German photo licenses do not need to be renewed every 10 years!

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    I have a paper licence and having read this article I have found out for the first time that I will be required to change it for a photo-card by 2015.

    The DVLA needs to pull its finger out and start keeping drivers informed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    I passed my test in 1983 i paid to change my licence to full and paid for the privilage and now my licence is vallid till i am 70 NOT so now the goalposts have been changed and my licence is to be discontinued and i MUST pay for a new one MP,S more like robbers and liers and they ask for 34% pay rise more like brothers grim story


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