The Department for Transport will not withdraw the paper counterpart of the driving licence until it has produced a viable alternative solution for the daily rental industry.
The BVRLA says that, while the DVLA has confirmed its intentions to remove the paper counterpart from 2015, it has assured the industry association that an alternative licence checking system will be in place.
The scrapping of the paper counterpart is part of the DVLA’s modernisation programme that will see the introduction of a new online database, which companies and individuals will be able to access to check driver licence details.
They include the go-live date, testing of the database with potential users, database security amid concerns that accessibility must only be for legitimate business reasons, the employee information required to access the system and whether access will be free or if charges will apply.
For the daily rental industry, the removal of the paper counterpart would mean car hire firms would no longer be able to give licences a quick check before agreeing to rent a car to corporate or retail customers.
With more than 10 million hire transactions every year, online or phone call licence checks to the DVLA for each one would add huge cost (and time) to the provision of hire cars with retail and fleet customers could be forced to foot the bill through higher rental charges.
Nora Leggett, head of member services at the BVRLA, told Fleet News that at a recent meeting the DVLA said it was confident that it could deliver.
“We look forward to working with the DVLA project team next year and we will be reminding them that the sector needs a system that is cost-effective to access and operate,” she continued.
“The delivery schedule for this new system needs to allow plenty of time for members to test and implement it at a local level.
“For those BVRLA members and their clients who don’t require real-time access, we also need confirmation from the DVLA that its overnight batching service will remain a viable alternative option.”