Car Swoosh

Car hire suppliers brace for introduction of new licence rules

Make sure you are not left high and dry by changes to UK licence requirements

Effective Monday 8th June 2015, the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is replacing the paper counterpart of driving licences with a database that holds the same information. Drivers renting cars will be required to log on to a page with the name of Share my Driving Licence and retrieve an access pass-code to give to their hire company.

The DVLA says the paper counterpart that was used in conjunction with photo-card driving issued post-1998 can be torn up on 8 June. Details of the driver’s endorsements plus any vehicles they are allowed to drive or operate with learner plates will now be stored online. This does not affect the old-style licences issued before the changeover in 1998. The DVLA says these are still 100 per cent legal and must not be destroyed. Although the licences are still valid they will not be updated and any new penalty points will be digitally recorded.

This change in procedures is applicable only to DVLA issued driver’s licences.

As the situation is currently in flux, the DVLA is periodically updating procedures which we will affix to the end of this page as they are released.

So what effect is this going to have on me if I hire a car subsequent to the 8th of June?

Up until the 8th of June, it was mandatory for people picking up hire cars to produce both sections of their two-part licences or a pre-1998 paper one. The depot clerk could then ascertain whether the driver was qualified to drive the vehicle and also if there were any endorsements. The clerk will now utilise the code the renter supplies to access the same details from the DVLA database.

An important note – The access pass-codes issued by the DVLA expire 21 days from the time they were generated. They also expire after being used once and licence holders are limited to applying for five inside any 24-hour period.

Steps you need to take

Anybody thinking of, or who has already booked, a hire vehicle over the coming months needs to be prepared to give an access code at the time they collect it from the provider’s depot. In the UK, this will be a given if producing a DVLA issued licence and a definite possibility overseas. Hertz is one of the few rental companies who have stated they will waive the code requirement in certain European countries. Complying with the following tips reduces the possibility of delays getting your car:

How to get your access code

  • For ease, we have linked Share my Driving Licence and you can get your pass-code here.
  • Write the access code on a piece of paper and keep it in a safe place. When you go and get the vehicle, take the code with you and give it to the company agent together with your photo-card licence.
  • In case of issues, we are also advising renters to print off a PDF copy as a backup and take that along too.
    Note! To get an access code you will need:
    a) Drivers Licence number
    b) National Insurance number
    c) current postcode on DVLA records.

Advice

While the new code system finds its feet, we recommend that renters phone the company they are getting their vehicles from just to confirm what they need. The contact numbers for the depots are shown on the confirmation vouchers. To make doubly sure, the printout of the code is a practical thing to have as backup. If you get to the rental office without the requisite pass-code the chances are the clerk will phone the DVLA’s premium line to get one and the cost of this will be passed on to you. Per minute rates for this service are a minimum of 51p. Another problem with this service is that DVLA staff only man the lines from 08:00 to 19:00 from Monday to Friday. The service is operational from 09:00 to 14:00 on Saturdays, but is closed all day on Sundays.

Starting on the 12th of May, the DVLA added an alternate hotline, 0300 083 0013, from which drivers are able to get passcodes. Drivers with the old paper licences are able to use this call centre as well. Again it is not a 24/7 service and the only difference in the hours it is available is an extra hour on Saturday mornings when it opens at 08:00. Due to the high costs of calling the DVLA, it is better to use these contact numbers as a last resort.

Questions

People with a rental booked who still have questions can call the supplier using the number printed on their vouchers or click on this link for the DVLA help page.

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