Driving licence could cost you £1k

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Are you one of the 1.6 million drivers who could be at risk of being fined £1,000 for a driving licence crime they aren't even aware of?

Many millions of us haven't any idea that the photocard attached to our paper licence has an expiry date, and that if we fail to renew it by the deadline we could be liable for a huge fine. In fact, 1.6 million have missed the deadline, and another 2.9 million are at risk.

The law

According to the DVLA, UK drivers are required to update their photo on their photo card driving licence every 10 years and British law requires drivers to do this whether or not they are active drivers.

Sainsbury's car insurance submitted a Freedom of Information request to check how many cards had expired undetected. They found that 1.6 million drivers' photographs have expired on their driving licence and a further 2.9 million must be renewed by the end of 2012. In fact, over the next five years 13 million of us will need to renew our photocards.

Its research found that shockingly one in three had no idea that their licence had expired. A further 10 million people do not know when their driving licence expires and 14% of expired photo card licences have been out of date since 2009 or before.


It seems like an unimportant bit of admin, but the consequences could be huge. Having an expired photograph on your driving licence carries a £1,000 fine; it could be enforced by the police under Section 99 (5) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Sainsbury's research found that just 29% of drivers know about the fine. Almost half (41%) of motorists admitted to not knowing the consequences of having an expired photograph on their driving licence.

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 £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use it as a form of identification for other things such as hiring a car or an internal flight, for example, having an out of date photograph could cause problems or delays."
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