The paper counterpart that comes with a driver’s photocard licence is soon to be scrapped and replaced by a plastic/digital combo, where fines and penalties will be logged online by the DVLA; a move which could save around £8million.

Many road users still carry an old paper driving licence due to the fact that it has a huge allowance on the expiry date and avoids drivers having to pay extortionate charges for photocard licences.

It seemed like the world had gone backwards with the photocard: true, it was more accurate for law enforcement, but in the digital era it seemed like an additional layer of administration due to the fact that any photocard licence also needed a paper counterpart.

The photocard was introduced as long ago as 1998 and any licences issued before that date will remain unchanged. The fact is the responsibility on the licence holder will not change too much when the paper counterpart gets discontinued, but any penalties accrued will not be recorded physically on your redundant ‘D740’ paper.

The Paper Counterpart was outdated and rightly singled out by the government in their Red Tape Challenge. The DVLA in particular always seems a bit bloated as a service, and they have now implemented a strategic plan to slim down and simplify some procedures.

The information the DVLA hold online will be available to check by trusted third parties, and the only concern that drivers still have is renewing your licence every ten years (at a charge of £20 a time). This renewal won’t happen often in the average lifetime but just like the passport fee, it does seem like money we’ve already paid in taxes.

The photocard driving licence can serve as a very effective form of ID, and combining it with a digital footprint seems like the ideal solution to a complicated problem.

The announcement that the DVLA is being simplified can only be good news. Procedures to scrap cars, change ownership and the like still seem unduly complicated but getting rid of the paper counterpart is a nod in the right direction and a significant saving on the DVLA budget.

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