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Post by 2E0ZMO on Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:30 am

check your driving licence

Unwitting motorists face 1,000 fines as thousands of photocard driving licences expire

Thousands of motorists are at risk of being fined up to 1,000 because they are unwittingly driving without a valid licence.

They risk prosecution after failing to spot the extremely small print
on their photocard licence which says it automatically expires after 10
years and has to be renewed - even though drivers are licensed to drive
until the age of 70.

Motoring organisations blamed the Government for the fiasco and said 'most' drivers believed their licences were for life.

They said officials had failed to publicise sufficiently the fact that
new-style licences - unlike the old paper ones - expire after a set
period and have to be renewed.

To rub salt into wounds, drivers will have to a pay 17.50 to renew
their card - a charge which critics have condemned as a 'stealth tax'
and which will earn the Treasury an estimated 437million over 25 years.

The fiasco has come to light a decade after the first batch of photo
licences was issued in July 1998, just as the they start to expire.

Official DVLA figures reveal that while 16,136 expired this summer, so
far only 11,566 drivers have renewed, leaving 4,570 outstanding.

With another 300,000 photocard licences due to expire over the coming
year, experts fear the number of invalid licences will soar, putting
thousands more drivers in breach of the law and at risk of a fine.

At the heart of the confusion is the small print on the tiny
credit-card-size photo licence, which is used in conjunction with the
paper version.

Just below the driver name on the front of the photocard licence is a series of dates and details - each one numbered.

Number 4b features a date in tiny writing, but no explicit explanation as to what it means.

The date's significance is only explained if the driver turns over the
card and reads the key on the back which states that '4b' means
'licence valid to'.

Even more confusingly, an adjacent table on the rear of the card sets
out how long the driver is registered to hold a licence - that is until
his or her 70th birthday.

A total of 25million new-style licences have been issued but - motoring
experts say - drivers were never sufficiently warned they would expire
after 10 years.

Motorists who fail to renew their licences in time are allowed to
continue driving. But the DVLA says they could be charged with 'failing
to surrender their licence', an offence carrying a 1,000 fine.

AA president, Edmund King said: 'It is not generally known that
photocard licences expire: there appears to be a lack of information
that people will have to renew these licences.

'People think they have already paid them for once over and that is it.

'It will come as a surprise to motorists and a shock that they have to pay an extra 17.50.'

The AA called on the Government to use the annual 450million from traffic enforcement fines to offset the renewal charge.

Before photocard licences were introduced, old-style paper licences were valid until the age of 70.

'Many motorists still believe this to be the case with the new ones."

Driving instructor Tony Carter, of Canterbury, said: 'It's outrageous; everybody thinks their driving licence is for life.

'Why - when you have already paid 50 for your photocard licence - should you pay the Government an extra 17.50 every 10 years?

'It's another stealth tax. Drivers will be very annoyed.'

Today the DVLA said the date of expiry was carried on the new-style licences, even though the AA says this is 'not clear'.

The Agency was unable to say whether motorists were told the licences would expire when they were first issued.

It said it was issuing postal reminders to drivers whose photograph was
due to expire, to get the renewal message across. But a spokesman
admitted this was the limit of the DVLA's publicity.

Experts say many drivers will slip through the net because DVLA records
are inaccurate and many motorists have changed address, making it
impossible to trace them.

A DVLA spokesman said: 'Previous experience has shown that wide-scale
publicity is less effective and can generate enquiries and concerns
from those not affected. Instead, DVLA focussed on targeted publicity
to ensure that we got the message to the right person at the right

The Driving Standards Agency is allowing L-test candidates with
out-of-date photocard licences to sit their driving tests as long as
they provide a valid passport. This concession will end in January next
year, raising the prospect that some L-test candidates will be turned

The DVLA said no one had so far been charged with failing to surrender a licence.

driving licence M3zmo_10
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Post by 2W0PWR on Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:05 pm

Very interesting stuff Andy. Yet another charge to renew just like the Passport!

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Post by simon007 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:26 am

Yep, very very interesting indeed

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