Update 19 May 2015: We’ve produced a step-by-step guide showing how to get a driving licence check code.
Anyone planning to hire a van (or a car) in June, including overseas, needs to remember that the paper counterpart of the UK driving licence will no longer be valid from 8 June.
Currently, details of any endorsements and convictions are kept on the paper part of your licence, which you need to show when you hire a vehicle. However, from 8 June, this information will only be available online, so hire companies will need to check drivers’ details online when checking their licences.
This applies when for car and van hire abroad, as well as for car and van hire in the UK.
How will it work?
Although it’s possible for a hire company to phone the DVLA and check your licence details, they won’t be keen on this, as it costs around 51p per minute and is not a 24/7 service.
The only practical solutions will be online — and that means that you, the hire customer, will need to be prepared to help.
1. Share My Driving Licence
Most hire companies are going to be relying on hire customers providing them with access to their online details using a new DVLA system called Share My Driving Licence.
You will need to visit this site within 2 days of picking up your hire van or car in order to generate a unique access code that the hire company can use to view your driving licence details online.
Share My Driving Licence is free to use, but to generate your access code, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your driving licence number
- Your National Insurance number
- The postcode on your driving licence
(this system doesn’t work for licences issued in Northern Ireland)
If you try to collect a hire vehicle without providing a Share My Driving Licence code, you may be able to do it on the day — but only if you have your National Insurance number with you and are able to get internet access. It’s definitely going to be easier to do it in advance.
2. Surely there’s a better way?
LICENCECHECK RealTime is the first product to provide real-time UK driver licence checks for companies ahead of the abolition of the paper counterpart.
Obviously, the sensible solution to this problem is for hire companies to be able to check your driving licence details online for themselves, without you needing to jump through hoops beforehand.
This will be possible, but the DVLA is relying on commercial partners to develop new systems to provide real-time driving licence checks, and at present, there’s only one such system available in the UK, to the best of my knowledge.
What’s more, that system, called LICENCECHECK RealTime, was only launched at the start of March, so it won’t be in widespread use, yet.
I suspect that all the big companies will rapidly develop or buy in real-time licence checking systems like this, to avoid huge disruption to their business, and to ensure that licences are all checked properly — not just nodded through with a look at the photocard only.
However, many of these systems aren’t ready yet, and smaller van hire companies may take longer to adopt these solutions. In the meantime, you will be required to provide access to your own details using the Share My Driving Licence system, which you can find here: https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence.
You can find more information in this article on the gov.uk website.