THE DRIVER and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has delayed plans to scrap the paper counterpart driving licence on January 1 after concerns that it could lead to chaos at car hire desks. It marks a setback in the licensing body’s planned paper bonfire, which began in October when tax discs were abolished.
Around 33m drivers in Britain have photocard driving licences and must also keep their paper counterpart, which records any penalty points that have been issued. Motorists can show it to an employer or car hire firm to demonstrate that they have a clean licence.
From the beginning of next year, officials had hoped to replace the paper document with an electronic record, a move claimed to save drivers £8m a year in the cost of replacing lost documents. But the plans were criticised by industry experts who warned that car hire firms would have no quick way of checking whether drivers had too many penalty points to rent a car, causing lengthy queues at airport desks.
The DVLA said it still planned to scrap the paper counterpart at some point next year. “It is about listening to industry concerns,” said a spokesman. “The paper counterpart will be abolished next year but I can’t say when.”
The change will not affect around 8m drivers who still hold paper driving licences issued before 1998 when the photocard was introduced.