Many advisory groups such as the AA have warned that there will be widespread confusion this summer as the paper counterpart to the UK driving licence will be moved online.
This will lead to mix ups over car rentals as the process will be changed significantly as a result of this move. Normally holidaymakers are required to show the counterpart to the rental company in order to show them their record of offences. However now this will have to be done online beforehand, where customers can generate a personal code to give to the rental company which will allow them to che.ck their driving record.
The move is intended to make things easier for motorists and rental companies alike but it is expected to have the opposite effect in the short term. It seems that people who have booked cars for hire after the changes are due to come in are not actually aware of these changes.
The AA stated it has caused “widespread confusion as to what drivers have to do to stay within the law”. This sentiment has been echoed by many similar associations and a recent survey believes that as many as 79% of car hirers could turn up at the rental service without the required documentation.
Lord Ahmad, the transport minister, has stated that this move will “save motorists money and reduce unnecessary red tape. It will also benefit employers and vehicle hire companies. Relying on the counterpart meant relying on a potentially out of date piece of paper.”
ìNow, when the driver chooses to share it, those organisations will be able to see completely accurate information direct from the DVLAís records. This will reduce their risk and improve road safety.î
The DVLA has said:
“Hire companies in the UK, and through them their overseas offices, should be well aware of the change. Many have published information for customers on their websites as their own requirements vary.”
ìOur advice to drivers is to check with their hire company what documents or information they will be asking for. Drivers can generate a check code up to 72 hours before collecting the vehicle, and if they want extra assurance they can also download or print out an electronic summary of their driving licence record.î
The AA stated:
ìThe possibility of teething problems this summer is a concern. While most drivers will be happy to see the back of the counterpart, there is widespread confusion as to what they should now do to ensure they stay within the law, and what documentation will be required at the rental check-in desk.î
The FTA (Freight Transport Association) has also criticised the move:
ìFTA members who employ hundreds if not thousands of drivers have complained to us that the proposed system adds time to the licence-checking process, forcing many to look for a cost alternative.î
Judith Donovan of the Keep Me Posted campaign stated:
ìThere are millions of people in the UK who canít use ñ or do not want to use ñ the internet, and though a good proportion are older, they are nonetheless active and can look forward to a holiday.
ìHanding over a piece of paper to hire a car was easy ñ the worry of not being able to go online to get a code, or at the cost of calling overseas to a helpline as 0300 numbers are not free from many providers abroad, could mean they miss out on making the most of their holiday.î