2.6 million drivers could face £1,000 fine
So what is the mistake, are you at risk, and why is the penalty so high?
PaperworkThe issue, highlighted by Direct Line Car Insurance, is that millions of us have out-of-date information on our driving licences. The most common out-of-date data is an old address. Some 7% of people ( which equates to 2.6 million motorists) have not informed the DVLA that they have moved house.
Next is the fact that 3% of married women still have their maiden name on their driving licence, and 2% of motorists admit they should have informed the DVLA about a notifiable medical condition, such as physical disability or visual impairment, since their current licence was issued.
Rob Miles, head of Motor at Direct Line, commented: "British motorists have a duty to update the DVLA of any change of name or address or of any medical condition that could affect their ability to drive, but it seems that many motorists simply don't realise they are breaking the terms of their licence."
He added: "Millions of drivers have an old name or address on their driving licence, and while this won't affect their car insurance cover, having incorrect information on their licence puts them at risk of a large fine if their licence is ever checked by the police. We urge motorists to ensure their licence information is up to date and that their licence is current."
PenaltiesThe penalty for failing to update information is severe, especially when you compare it to the cost: normally it costs £20 to renew your licence, but if you're just changing a name or address you can do it for free.
There are a few reasons why the penalties are so high. Most importantly if you commit an offence, the police or the council will use the address on the DVLA database to track you down. Their lives become much more difficult if you have used the wrong address or name, so they want to encourage us to keep it updated.
There's also the fact that the driving licence is a commonly-used form of identification. Having the wrong information on there allows you to use it to prove a false identity, so the penalty is designed to discourage this too.
Most people with the wrong information on their licence aren't trying to outrun the police or prove a fake identity - they were just overwhelmed by all the other admin required in a major life change like a house move or a wedding. However, this should prove a timely reminder that even though it doesn't seem like the most vital thing to update, it might just work out as the most expensive thing to neglect.
- DVLA makes £10m on selling driver info
- £23m of parking fines may be unlawful: can you claim?
- What would a driving conviction add to your insurance?
- Could you pay less for your car insurance? Compare policies now