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Plastic not fantastic for UK car licence

2015-06-03 12:10

CAR-HIRE CONFUSION: Motoring assistance agency, GEM, warns drivers of possible car-hire confusion when the UK paper counterpart driving licence becomes obsolete from June 8 2015. Image: DVLA

LONDON, England – While South Africa is writhing in confusion over unabridged birth certificates at airports a motoring assistance programme in the UK is warning of driving licence confusion.

Like the UBC fiasco currently driving South African travel agents, airlines and, of course, travellers wild with frustration airport car-rental queues in some countries are going to swell. And tempers will flare...

While SA is generating paper, the UK has scrapped paper driving licences in place of plastic photocard items but that means driving penalty points can now only be seen online, by phone or through the post (imagine that last in SA!).

PLASTIC, NO PAPER

GEM Motoring Assist is warning drivers of holiday car-hire confusion and delay when the paper counterpart driving licence becomes obsolete on June 8 2015. It could happen here in South Africa... oh, but then we would need the Natis system up and running with our plastic licences.

The UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is scrapping the paper counterpart licence that accompanies all plastic photocard licences. This means information regarding penalty points can only be accessed online, by phone or through the post from DVLA.

Anyone hiring a car will need to log in online at the DVLA to generate a licence check code. This will be valid for 72 hours and should be given to the hire company which will be able to access the driver's details.

To access the site, drivers will need to provide their driving licence number, post code and national insurance number.

INTERNET NEEDED TO SORT

GEM chief executive David Williams said: “We predict long car hire delays, particularly at overseas holiday destinations, simply because many car hire firms are going to be unaware of the changes and are likely to want to examine a paper document, even though it will not be valid.

“The scrapping of the paper licence gives already stressed holidaymakers one more task to remember before setting off. Worse still, if they’re not hiring a car until later in their holiday, they will be forced to find internet access at their foreign destination, something that could be expensive as well as inconvenient.

“Our advice is to obtain the licence check code as instructed by DVLA, but also to keep the paper counterpart licence as a back-up when you travel, even though it will have no legal status. After all, if a rental desk is unfamiliar with the new rules, then producing your counterpart paper licence might be the only way for you to get behind the wheel of your holiday rental vehicle.”

Paper driving licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 will remain valid.


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