The paper counterpart to the plastic photocard driving licence has been scrapped and is no longer valid in Great Britain (it is still required in Northern Ireland). The paper counterpart licence provided information about the vehicle categories you’re allowed to drive and details of penalty points incurred – you can now find this information using the ‘view driving licence’ service on GOV.UK.
Why was it scrapped?
The DVLA decided to scrap the counterpart licence in order to save motorists millions of pounds and to reduce red tape. In 2014, the DVLA had to replace 445,000 counterpart licences for drivers who had lost theirs, charging £20 for each replacement. Replacing the counterpart with an online record simplifies matters for drivers, employers and vehicle hire companies alike. All parties can now electronically access accurate driver information through the DVLA’s records, instead of relying on the paper counterpart licences that ran the risk of being out-of-date.
What do I need to do?
Paper driving licence: Your paper licence is valid and should be kept if it was issued before photocards were introduced in 1998. You will be issued only a photocard if you update your licence. Paper counterpart driving licence: All paper counterpart licences became invalid as of 8th June 2015. You should therefore destroy your counterpart licence but hold on to your photocard driving licence.
What does this mean for fleets?
It’s essential for a business to check and validate its employee’s driving licence if they drive as part of their job. Since employers can no longer accept the paper counterpart as a valid licence, your employees should refer you to the ‘view driving licence’ service on GOV.UK which houses their driving record.