What You Need to Know About the Abolishment of the Counterpart Licence
Earlier this month (8th June), paper licences were abolished and replaced with the new DVLA MyLicence online system – but what does this mean for you?
The counterpart licence will no longer be issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA), as part of the governments ‘Red Tape Challenge’. So, when you renew your licence, or change anything on your licence – such as your name or address – only a new plastic photocard will be returned. Everything else is now recorded on the online MyLicence portal.
How to View Your Licence Details
To view your licence details, log into into the MyLicence portal, you’ll need your driving licence number, National Insurance number and the postcode on your driving licence to access the following:
- What vehicles you can drive
- Penalty points or disqualifications you have
- Last 8 characters of your driving licence
- A licence check code
So, what’s changing?
Changes When Test Driving a Car
Car dealers warned that scrapping the paper counterpart would make what was originally a simple exchange of details and checks, become an administrative nightmare.
Insurers expect dealers to carry out the necessary checks that replace the counterpart, which includes calling a premium rate number (which costs 51p per minute) or logging into the MyLicence portals. Dealers obtain demonstration cover as part of a combined motor insurance policy, but this is only valid if the customer provides their photocard driving licence and a licence check code.
Research by Cooper Solutions found that 20% of the 100 dealers they spoke to, were ‘seriously considering the option of just asking customers to sign waivers to confirm that they have clean, current driving licence’.
If you’re going to test drive a car we would recommend going prepared, whilst some dealers may ask you to sign a waiver, not all will. Log into the MyLicence portal under 72 hours before and enter your details to retrieve your code. If you wait until you arrive at the dealership, you’ll end up having to call the DVLA on the premium number.
It’s easy to see why dealers and car hire firms raised their eyebrows when the DVLA announced that in order to generate a unique code the persons National Insurance number is required. A quick run round the Motoring.co.uk office and only around 30% actually know their NI number off the top of their head!
Hiring a Car: How to Prove Your Driving Record
Whether you’re hiring a car in the UK, or abroad, we recommend that you contact the company in advance to ask what evidence they require in light of the changes. If you are going abroad, take your counterpart with you - the foreign staff on the ground maybe unaware of the changes.
Login into the new MyLicence/ Share Licence to generate your unique ‘licence check code’ to present to the car hire company when you pick up your car. The code lasts for 72 hours and if you have any trouble generating a code you should call 0300 083 0013.
What About Driving and Theory Tests?
You no longer need to take your paper counterpart with you when you go for your theory or driving test.
However, you must still take your photocard, or your old-style paper licence to the test or your test will be cancelled and you will have to pay for it again.
What About if You Drive for a Living?
If you were employed by your company before 8th June 2015, you do not have to do anything until you change jobs. As with most jobs, employers are keen to see if you have any convictions, however if you drive for a living, your prospective employer is much more likely to actually check.
Rather than presenting your employer with your driving licence counterpart, you now share your endorsements and penalty points online, by accessing the MyLicence portal. You can generate a ‘licence check code’ to pass to the person or organisation that needs to view your driving licence details. You should note that each code you generate is only valid for 72 hours before a new code will have to be generated.
Still not sure? The DVLA has produced this helpful step-by-step guide to help you share your driving licence information.