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Motorists urged to check driving licence photocards

Young person who's passed her testMore than a million motorists face fines of up to £1,000 because they have failed to renew their driving licence photocards.

Research from Sainsbury’s Bank has found that the photographs on the licences of 1.6 million drivers are currently out of date, with a further 3 million due for renewal before the end of 2012.

What the law states

According to the DVLA, pictures on licence photocards must be updated every 10 years. Not every motorist currently has a photocard licence, but with the government planning to phase out the paper licence, they will soon become mandatory.

Each photocard gives an expiry date by which time the licence must be renewed with a new photo: the current charge is £20.

Driving with an expired licence can result in penalties up to a £1,000 fine, but it should not have any impact on any existing car insurance policies provided the driver has not been disqualified or told not to drive by the DVLA.

Lack of awareness

A further survey by Sainsbury’s found that less than a third of drivers with expired licences were aware of the fact their photocards needed to be renewed.

Around 10 million motorists did not know when their photocards were due to run out, while one in every seven expired licences had been out of date for two years or more.

Photocards can be renewed online or at a Post Office branch, although the latter option will incur a further £4.50 fee.

Licence holders should be sent a renewal reminder by the DVLA shortly before their photocard expires: however, if you have moved since your licence was issued, the DVLA may not have your current address details.

Your address can be changed online at no cost.

Further potential problems

Ben Tyte, head of Sainsbury's car insurance, said: “The photocard driving licence was introduced in 1998 so it's unsurprising that those issued with a licence around that time may not remember that they need to update their photograph.

"We would therefore encourage all drivers to check when their photocard was issued and ensure that they arrange to update their photo when required to avoid risking a £1,000 fine.

“Drivers should also remember that their photocard licence serves as more than just a driving licence. Should they intend to use it as a form of identification for other things such as hiring a car or an internal flight, for example, having an out-of-date photograph could cause problems or delays.”


Chris Torney

Chris Torney

Chris is the former personal finance editor at the Daily Express. He's been a journalist for more than 10 years and contributes to a wide range of finance and business titles.Read more from Chris