In less than a month, over five million organisations and approximately 37 million citizens will wake to find their lives irrevocably changed by the actions of a government agency. This is because on June 8, the DVLA will abolish the driving licence paper counterpart – a document that with the photo card has hitherto been relied upon by employers, insurers, car hire companies, motor dealers, employment agencies and car sharing schemes, to name but a few, to prove entitlement to drive.
The change has not been universally welcomed. Among other objections, critics have pointed out that UK drivers may face problems with car hires at home and abroad and that the motor trade will struggle to meet the compliance requirement for the current 10,000 test drives per day.
But I, for one, applaud the change. Of course, there will be teething problems. The Government’s record in delivering successful IT solutions on time, on budget and which work properly is poor. The fact that systems, intended to deliver real-time driving licence information to employers and others who require details of driver entitlement and history, remain in beta testing this close to launch may not inspire great confidence.
But businesses will find a way forward. They always do. Many of the organisations that need this information to provide products and services are already on the case, working with intermediaries such as LicenceCheck and others to find new innovative ways to perform effective driver due diligence on a 24/7 basis. The customer will get a better service in the end. The fact that new systems will be using contemporaneous authoritative source data from the DVLA is a great leap forward. Fraudsters will find it much more difficult to hide their appalling driving record from their employer or insurer using forged or altered documentation and this must be good news for us all in terms of promoting road safety and fairer motor insurance premiums. There has always been a cost associated with checking driving licences and that won’t change. But over time the services will improve and the real cost will reduce. That’s a win-win.
Read the DVLA's view here.