Mike Waters' Blog: 10 February 2009 - A licence is not for life
10 February 2009
Mike Waters is head of market analysis at Arval
Regular maintenance of your vehicle is crucial at any time of year, but especially with the current weather conditions, not only keeping you safe on the road but also legal.
This can range from the really basic stuff like checking tyre pressures, lights, oil and water to the more complex tasks like regular servicing.
Keeping your car in good working order will not only reduce the hassle of breakdowns, it will reduce the chances of you being involved in an accident and can also save you money. The more efficiently the vehicle is running the less you will be spending on fuel and unexpected maintenance.
Plus, if the police pull you over for a routine stop, you can be safe in the knowledge that you will pass the test with flying colours. or can you?
It has been a decade since the first batch of photo driving licences was issued back in the late nineties and now they have begun to expire. In short this means that there are a lot of unsuspecting motorists who could face a £1000 fine for driving without a valid licence.
The big issue here is inconsistency because the old paper licences do not expire so drivers have the same expectation of the new photo versions. This is made all the more confusing by the fact that on the photo card it displays how long the driver is registered to hold a licence - until his or her 70th birthday - luring the holder into a false sense of security.
The situation is that photo card licences automatically expire after 10 years and have to be renewed by the driver. The new licences do carry an expiry date on the card but it is very much in the small print and the likelihood of most drivers picking up on it is slim.
To make matters worse, drivers renewing their licence will have to pay nearly £20 for the privilege. While the government will make millions out of this charge it leaves drivers with another cost to absorb - irrespective of their income or the car that they drive.
With 25 million of the photo card licences in the UK and 300,000 of them due to expire in the next year there are a significant number of drivers who could be falling foul of the law without realising it. The crux of this issue is that drivers were never sufficiently warned that the new licences do expire and this is something that needs to be publicised far more - but for now, here's the warning - check your licence to make sure that it's still valid.