Motoring organisations have reported that most drivers believe that their new style licence is for life and that is has not been publicised that the licence actually expires after a set period and has to be renewed.
The first batch of ten year photo licences was issued in July 1998 and the confusion has only just come to light as they start to expire. The DVLA figures reveal that 16,136 licences expired this summer and only 11,566 drivers have renewed, 300 000 more photocard licences are due to expire over the coming year. The new style photocard licences are not very clear showing the expiry date, the small print below the drivers name is a numbered series of dates and details. Number 4b features a date but the significance is explained only if the card is turned over where the key on the back states that 4b relates to ‘licence valid to’.
The DVLA say that drivers are allowed to continue driving if they have failed to renew before the expiry date but they could be charged with ‘failing to surrender their licence’ which is an offence carrying a £1000 fine. The Association of British Insurers and the Department of Transport said that insurance cover was not affected if drivers failed to update their photocard.