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According to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), updating a driving licence is a vital legal requirement and many motorists could face a fine of £1000 if they fail to comply.
The DVLA started issuing photo-card licences 15 years ago and since then more than 30 million drivers are in possession of one. The new type of licence is usually valid for ten years and there is a legal requirement that drivers renew their photograph at the same time as they renew their licence.
However, two million drivers have so far failed to do this which means that they could be fined up to £1,000 if they are pulled over by the police who may then discover that the photo licence is out of date.
In 2015, photo-card driving licences are set to become mandatory and paper licences will be officially phased out, so the DVLA are urging drivers to check their licences are up to date to avoid any problems in the future.
Victoria Ford from the DVLA said: “Appearances can change and it is important that photo-card licences are updated every 10 years to ensure the police and other enforcement agencies have the best possible photograph to help them correctly identify whether a driving licence is being used fraudulently.
“This helps prevent driving licence impersonation – stopping disqualified and perhaps dangerous drivers taking to our roads.”
Drivers can not only be fined for failing to update their licence photo card, but also failing to notify the DVLA of a change of address can bring further fines. If you change your address or name, you have to tell the DVLA, so that your driving licence and car registration details can be updated.
If you are not certain that you licence is fully up to date, look towards the bottom of your card to allocate the address that the authorities have for you. Normally the cost of renewing a licence is £20 but if you are simply updating your address then your new licence will be updated free of charge.
Research from LV Car Insurance revealed that nearly a fifth of drivers had no idea when their licence ran out, even though the expiry date is clearly shown on the front of the licence, with one in 10 drivers admitting they had not renewed their licence for more than 10 years.
The DVLA says that it sends letters to drivers whose licences are about to expire, but it is concerned that not everyone will check, so it is well worth making this essential check to avoid any future fines.