Southport’s Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament Dr John Pugh MP is urging drivers to check their licences to avoid the prospect of a fine for not being ‘up-to-date’. The pink licence cards contain a renewal date since the photographs are required to be updated every ten years. Many drivers wrongly believing that the photo-identity card they carry is for life. In fact, it must be renewed every ten years.
It is estimated that one in 12 drivers has not noticed the need to renew their licence card so is driving on an invalid licence which could even invalidate their car insurance. Surveys show that one in 6 drivers has no idea when their licence needs renewing: the dates on the card concerning renewal are in very small print and not at all clear. Nowhere on the card does it tell the motorist that the cards must be renewed, nor why. Drivers sometimes only find out when they go in a hurry to get a hire car and find that they cannot have one because their out-of-date licence means they cannot be insured.
Since 2010 some 734,000 drivers have been caught driving with an out-of-date licence and have had to pay out £41 million in fines, averaging around £56 a time. The DVLA recommends a fine of £1,000 for those caught driving with an invalid licence although the police have discretion to seek a lower fine according to what they see fit.
Dr John Pugh MP says:
“It is amazing that tens of millions of these cards have been issued yet they are not really fit for purpose. It is outrageous that otherwise law-abiding citizens might be put at risk of breaking the law because there is nothing to prompt them as to what the law is that they should be following. ”
“I am seeking assurances from the Minister for Transport that the cards will be improved and other opportunities for reminding drivers will be used – for instance insurance renewals, MOTs and Road Tax documentation and web-sites.”
The government is currently phasing out the ‘paper counterpart’ of the driving licence which should disappear in about 2015.
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