photocard driving licenses

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Regular member
Aug 25, 2004
Unwitting motorists face 1,000 fines as thousands of photocard driving licenses expire

Thousands of motorists are at risk of being fined up to 1,000 because they are unwittingly driving without a valid license.

They risk prosecution after failing to spot the extremely small print on their photocard license which says it automatically expires after 10 years and has to be renewed - even though drivers are licensed to drive until the age of 70.

The fiasco has come to light a decade after the first batch of photo licenses was issued in July 1998, just as the they start to expire.
Motoring organisations blamed the Government for the fiasco and said 'most' drivers believed their licenses were for life.

Enlarging a mock-up driving license from 1998 when the photocards were launched shows the imminent expiry date as item '4b'

They said officials had failed to publicise sufficiently the fact that new-style licenses - unlike the old paper ones - expire after a set period and have to be renewed.

To rub salt into wounds, drivers will have to a pay 17.50 to renew their card - a charge which critics have condemned as a 'stealth tax' and which will earn the Treasury an estimated 437million over 25 years.

Official DVLA figures reveal that while 16,136 expired this summer, so far only 11,566 drivers have renewed, leaving 4,570 outstanding.

With another 300,000 photocard licenses due to expire over the coming year, experts fear the number of invalid licenses will soar, putting thousands more drivers in breach of the law and at risk of a fine.
At the heart of the confusion is the small print on the tiny credit-card-size photo license, which is used in conjunction with the paper version. Just below the driver name on the front of the photocard license is a series of dates and details - each one numbered. Number 4b features a date in tiny writing, but no explicit explanation as to what it means.

The date's significance is only explained if the driver turns over the card and reads the key on the back which states that '4b' means 'license valid to'.

Even more confusingly, an adjacent table on the rear of the card sets out how long the driver is registered to hold a license - that is until his or her 70th birthday.

A total of 25million new-style licenses have been issued but - motoring experts say - drivers were never sufficiently warned they would expire after 10 years.

Motorists who fail to renew their licenses in time are allowed to continue driving. But the DVLA says they could be charged with 'failing to surrender their license', an offence carrying a 1,000 fine.

AA president, Edmund King said: 'It is not generally known that photocard licenses expire: there appears to be a lack of information that people will have to renew these licenses. People think they have already paid them for once over and that is it. It will come as a surprise to motorists and a shock that they have to pay an extra 17.50.'

The AA called on the Government to use the annual 450million from traffic enforcement fines to offset the renewal charge.

Before photocard licenses were introduced, old-style paper licenses were valid until the age of 70. Many motorists still believe this to be the case with the new ones.


19/08/02 - 25/08/10
In Memoriam
Aug 19, 2002
Also on this one you have to supply a new photograph every so often so that you resemble the one on the license.

Ah well at least I shouldn't get caught on this one I have to renew mine every three years now due to being type2 diabetic on insulin therapy, it's a pain in the arse but at least I shouldn't fall into this trap AND I dont have to pay each time I renew.


02/02/04 -24/12/17
Site Supporter
In Memoriam
Feb 2, 2004
It just goes to prove the duplicity that this underhanded
Government involves itself with,
anything to make a fast buck. [V] [:(!]

They would put a Wideboy Spiv to shame. [:(]



Regular member
Nov 19, 2003
also in our local paper the other night it said if you move address and dont notify them immediatley its another grand fine


Mr Ginster
Site Supporter
Jan 27, 2007
labour tossers...the smiling assasin may have gone but his legacy lives on.

Can't recall a time when so much of my hard earned was stripped away. Considering a career on the social, better prospects and better off !

Apr 21, 2004
Its looking like soon that will be the only career left for alot anyway.


Account locked
Sep 29, 2008
More "sensationalism" from the daily mail.
Does anyone know of someone who has been fined 1000?
Even the "mail" in its story couldn't back it up with anyone who has been fined.
Two months before your licence expires, the dvla send a renewal pack, so no reason for anyone to be at risk from or face a fine.
You have always risked/faced a fine if you do not inform of a change of address although once again don't know anyone who has been fined.
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