If you have a British driving licence and are planning on hiring a car at any time in the future then you need to know about this.
We’re going to hire a car in Italy on holiday this summer. We usually hire a car with no problem when we go on a family trip abroad. Here’s a video I made last year showing what it was like driving in Sicily:
But I’m not sure how it will work out this time.
Booking the car is not the issue – we’ve shopped around for the best deal and reserved a car already. The part which I’m not sure about is actually collecting the car when we arrive in Italy. This is because the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) has gone and changed things.
New DVLA system
This week the DVLA has scrapped the driving licence counterpart – the green piece of paper which goes with the pink plastic driving licence. This counterpart shows your driving endorsements and is used by car hire companies to check your record when you hire a car. Although often they don’t actually check it at all.
In order to save money the DVLA has introduced a new online system where you can check and share your driving endorsements. From now on, before hiring a car you must obtain a code from the DVLA website to verify your driving record. You need to be organised because this code is only valid for 72 hours. This means that you have to make sure that you get the code no more than three days before collecting your hire car. So if you’re picking up the car several days or more after leaving home then you’ll need to take the necessary information with you and find some internet access in order to go on to the website and obtain the code.
How to obtain a code
The DVLA has published this detailed guide showing exactly how to check and share your driving licence details. This is what they say you need to do:
- Go to https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
- Enter your driver number, the postcode shown on your current driving licence and your National Insurance number.
- You can now view your driving licence information. You can click on a button to share that information with another person at this point.
- Click on the ‘Create a code’ button.
- You will now be shown a ‘check code’ which can be used only once and which is valid for 72 hours. You can also choose to ‘View, print or save your licence information’.
I’m sure that many people won’t know about this and that many who do know about it will forget to obtain a code before picking up a hire car. And many of the people who do go to the trouble of getting a code may not even be asked for it anyway.
I’ll be interested to see what happens to us in Italy. I’ll definitely get a code before we set off but my hunch is that we won’t even be asked it when we collect our hire car. My husband and I can’t remember ever being asked to show a driving licence counterpart when hiring a car.
The DVLA wants us to destroy our paper driving licence counterparts. Personally I think that they could be worth keeping because many car hire places abroad will have no idea about the new system.
What do you think?
Did you know about the change? What do you think about it? Have you hired a car yet under the new system?