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East Midlands Chamber News

Paper driving licence defunct... don't throw it away yet

photocard driving licence cc flickr brizzle born and bredThe paper (counterpart) driving licence becomes defunct today, but drivers are being warned not to throw it away.

Hiring a car might not be possible without it even though it is no longer legally required in the UK.

Motorists without the counterpart licence will have to remember to jump through hoops on the internet within 72 hours of wanting to start renting a car or will find themselves unable to do so.

The problem arises because the paper licence contains the driver's offences history - detail which is not included on the plastic photocard licence.

To obtain the information drivers will need to access a website (not working this morning), input their driver licence number, national insurance number and the address to which the licence was issued.

This will generate a code valid for three days which, when entered by the clerk at the hiring company, will provide the driver's history.

No code, no car.

The problem could also apply to anyone wanting to test-drive a car before buying.

The paper licence remains necessary in Northern Ireland.

There are about 46 million motorist on UK roads and around 15,000 short-term loan vehicles driven on Britain's roads every day.

Edmund King, President of motoring organisation The AA, told The Independent newspaper: "What we don’t want to see are UK drivers, who may not be aware of the change or may bump into the unexpected such as the main driver becoming ill, being obliged to hire from dodgy car rental firms who don’t care about the driver’s record.

"Whiet most drivers will be happy to see the back of the cumbersome paper part of the photocard licence, there is widespread confusion as to what they should now do to ensure they stay within the law and what documentation will be required at the rental check-in desk.

"Taking a copy of your driving licence on-line record will, hopefully, get holidaymakers through this summer, but a re-think may be needed if problems develop. One of the potential pitfalls may be drivers not knowing their national insurance number."