1.6m drivers risk hefty fine for not renewing photograph at Â£20 cost
Over 1.6million drivers could be at risk of a Â£1,000 fine because the photograph on their driving licence has expired, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Sainsburyâ€™s car insurance discovered that many motorists are at risk of a hefty fine because they may not be aware that a photograph on their driving licence needs to be updated every ten years at a cost of Â£20, as set out by the DVLA. Those with old-style paper licences are not affected.
As well as 1.6million driversâ€™ photographs that have expired, a further 2.9million must be renewed by the end of 2012 – and over the next five years, almost 13million drivers must renew their photograph to abide by the law.
Driving licenses: Photo licenses became mandatory in 1998 – and if your photograph needs to be updated every ten years
According to Sainsbury’s statistics, 41 per cent of drivers are not fully aware of the consequences of having an expired photograph on their licence.
Failure to update your photograph carries a Â£1,000 fine and can be enforced by the police under Section 99 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
There is no impact on your car insurance as long as the driver has not been disqualified or told not to drive by the DVLA (due to a medical issue, for example).
Renewing a photo card licence costs Â£20 and this may deter many motorists who believe they have already forked out enough for their licence.
The supermarket bank carried out a further survey and found that fewer than one in three of those drivers with an expired licence are aware that it has expired.
A further 10million people do not know when their licence expires and 14 per cent of expired photo card licences have been out-of-date since 2009 or before.
The research also revealed that the vast majority of drivers are unaware of the true consequences of having an expired photograph on their driving licence.
Just 29 per cent know that it could make you liable for a Â£1,000 fine. However, almost a third (31 per cent) of drivers incorrectly said they thought it could invalidate your motor insurance and 27 per cent thought it could mean getting points on your licence.
Interestingly, 13 per cent of drivers thought it could result in your car being confiscated.
Ben Tyte, head of Sainsbury’s car insurance, said: ‘The photo card 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 photo card was issued and ensure that they arrange to update their photo when required to avoid risking a Â£1,000 fine.
‘Drivers should also remember that their photo card 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.’
What about the old style paper licences?
The AA website states that if you still have a paper driving licence you don’t have to worry about ten yearly updates, though you must still notify DVLA of name or address changes.
It also says that parliament has given powers to recall all paper licences so the more secure photo card licences will be held by everyone, but no date has been set for this, and the Government is well aware that it would be controversial to make everyone buy a new licence.
The AA has said that if the government insists on everyone changing, it should phase in such a move and subsidise the cost.
Keeping the details on your paper licence up to date will ensure that DVLA is able to tell you when this is happening and if you need to do something.
Driving licence trap: