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Blog: When did you last update your driving licence photo?

Man outside a driving test centreApparently not lately, as new research finds the photographs on the licences of 1.6m drivers are out of date, running the risk of a £1,000 fine.

It’s very easy to forget how important it is to keep your driving licence up to date as Chris Williams, 29, from Cardiff, knows all too well.

He says: “It all started when I went to buy some currency for my holiday.

“The exchange bureau wanted some ID so I took out my driving licence but they said it was out of date – it was the first I’d even noticed.

“I thought it was weird that I hadn’t received a renewal notice – until my housemate pointed out that I still had my parents’ address on my licence.

Call to the DVLA

“So I had an out-of-date driving licence photocard, with the wrong address, and to make matters worse I couldn’t find my paper licence which I needed to get the photocard updated.

“There was no form in the Post Office to deal with all three things at once and in the end I called the DVLA.

“They talked me through the different forms I needed to fill out and even refunded me when I accidentally overpaid."

Williams isn’t the only one who’s fallen foul of driving licence photocard rules.

1.6m drivers fail to update

Research by Sainsbury's Finance has found that more than 1.6 million drivers are carrying out-of-date driving licence photocards.

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.”

£1,000 fine

It costs just £20 to renew the photo on your driving licence, yet a hefty £1,000 fine if you are caught with an out-of-date one.

The thought of having to pay such a hefty fine made me dig out my driving licence to double check.

Thankfully, it doesn’t expire until 2017.

UK drivers are required to update their photo on their driving licence photocard every 10 years to make sure you still look like, well you.

Now in most cases you’ll receive a renewal reminder in the post - but only, of course, if you’ve updated your address with the DVLA.

What about your address?

And, taking a closer look at my driving licence, I can see that it has my old address on.

But I’m not the only one to forget to update my address – which can be done online at no cost through the DVLA.Indeed, Britain’s motorists are so bad at this that last year the DVLA teamed up with moving service Home Move Box to remind motorists to update their driving licence and vehicle registration certificate when changing address.

Take a nice, new photo

The Home Move Box service provides home movers with a free box of essential household products such as includes tea, coffee, milk as well as useful information leaflets and discounts for home movers.

DVLA leaflets were added to the welcome box explaining what motorists should do when they change address.

So dig out your licence and have a look to see it's up-to-date. And if you do need to update your photo it’s not such a bad thing – think of it as an opportunity to take a really nice picture. 

What do you think?

Have you found your photocard out of date? Got into trouble as a result? Or perhaps you've "done a Chris" and found lots of things wrong with your driving licence at once?

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share your tales with us on the message board below.

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick covers all things consumer for She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

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