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could be fined up to £1,000 should they be pulled over by the police, who then discover that the photo and licence is out of date.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 962.

    So "a driving licence is a privilege"? What other licences to go about our daily lives should we be grateful for the state bestowing ...?

  • rate this

    Comment number 961.

    The real reason for the ten year renewal is because the photos are used to identify who's who on cctv and track your movements. Why do you think your photo needs to done in such a specific way? Tip for the men: grow a large moustache and beard (ensure corners of your mouth are covered) for your photo. Ladies, you're on your own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 960.

    There should be no photo in the first place. As this farce over updating shows it is a big brother nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 959.

    @ 953. V1per_7

    "Fine, I'll grow a beard and wear glasses and shave my head 30 days after the photo. ... It's only current for the day it's taken."

    Agreed, which is why you are required by law to renew your licence (again!) and your passport if your appearance changes significantly. Could get expensive if you do that every month!

  • rate this

    Comment number 958.

    10 years ago DVLA forgot to tell us our new photo licences had expired. Realising they had created the mother of all cockups it was granted that no fines would be levied and licences were exchanged over an extended period. On this further anniversary would not a series of reminders through the media leading up to the big change have been a more reasonable course of action to have been taken?

  • rate this

    Comment number 957.

    Paul Weatherall - The change of address can be done online as I did that and if you have a passport no need to even send in a photograph or signed form as photograph and signature is used from the passport. It works too as that's what I did.

  • rate this

    Comment number 956.

    Yet another way to pay off the deficit!! Hit the motorist, what if we all said F.O. didn't get it reniued and refused to pay the fine. Sentence, prison - sorry you have no spaces left!!!! STOP TRYING TO ROB US BLIND!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 955.

    When people say they don't want to pay for some legal and civic necessity, they actually mean that they want someone else to pay for them, surely?
    The same happened with the poll tax scoundrels - I and others ended up subsidizing the no-pay heroes.
    I do have to agree that the way that this was trotted out is a classic piece of officious and self-serving 'jobsworth' though...

  • rate this

    Comment number 954.

    ok so this is the hurry up to that letter i got in november. essentially me being ordered to pay the man £20 for squat. are we in nottinghamshire all over again ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 953.

    Mike Davies
    26 Minutes ago

    Except that that would be forgery because you signed the form to say that the picture was current. The penalty for forgery is a lot more than a £1000 fine.

    Fine, I'll grow a beard and wear glasses and shave my head 30 days after the photo.
    It's the same pointless photo of needing to have a passport photo for babies. It's only current for the day it's taken.

  • rate this

    Comment number 952.

    944. Nemesis65
    ...It is a form of ID card by the back door.
    I do hope so, It would help the authorities stop illegal immigration.

  • rate this

    Comment number 951.

    What is the point of these stupid cards anyway?
    I can give the police the card and it is useless without the paper. I give them the paper and it is useless without the card. So, my wallet is full of folded paper, the kind that I can't spend.
    If the Gov want ID cards can we just do it, this licence is the size of a map of Wales.

  • rate this

    Comment number 950.

    The DVLA should be working alot harder in ensuring the foriegn vechiles allowed in this country are road worthy, and properly insured which is far more important than getting a picture updated on a licence.

    Only 2 weeks ago a collegue got rammed by a polish driver, police said it was the poles fault but struggling to claim, so much for EU puppet laws

  • rate this

    Comment number 949.

    Good solution is just to stop driving. Much cheaper, much safer, stop lining the pockets of the oil companies, stop lining the pockets of the government, less pollution, no ID card and good for the environment too.
    True you have the irritation of greedy train operators but overall it's much, much cheaper than running a car and you can read and work on the train too. Relax. I highly recommend it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 948.

    @ 942. Blackfive

    "When I passed my test I paid for a licence that was valid until the day I become 70 so the Government should honour it's part of this contract."

    When I passed my test in 1972, I paid for a licence that was valid for three years only. When I renewed it for the first time, the replacement was valid until I was 70. The Government has saved me a fortune over the years!

  • rate this

    Comment number 947.

    Just another DC scam to make money to pay for his mates to have long holidays. Shameful.

  • rate this

    Comment number 946.

    @924 Big Bird - if you can afford to drive, the insurance and petrol - you can afford the 20 quid. My statement stands.

  • rate this

    Comment number 945.

    939. Red_5

    I was actually joking about the £20, you talk about losing millions but we get Billions back.
    Are you sure about that? It's certainly not what a senior tory has been saying in the news recently.

  • rate this

    Comment number 944.

    The DVLA is being economic with the truth here.This has nothing to do with license impersonation. It is for two reasons and two reasons only.

    It is a form of ID card by the back door.

    It is also to make the DVLA self funding. That is why the new licenses are not free. £20 is an excessive amount but it is just another way of fleecing law abiding drivers

  • rate this

    Comment number 943.

    I renewed mine last year and it cost me £15.Now £20, From April the renewal will be £25.Its like the Road tax goes up £5 every year.This is getting worse than ever what do this bloody shambles of a government think us motorists are,Cash cows to fund their lavish lifestyles and their 25% pay rises.Us as motorists really need to make a stand and take action now talk about being taken for muggs.


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