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This was passed to me earlier today by a colleage, nothing to do with me just passing it on. Its bound to affect someone on here, at least one of my lot have an out of date licence which just happens to be both car and HGV.

Unwitting motorists face £1,000 fines as thousands of photo card driving licences expire.

Thousands of motorists are at risk of being fined up to £1,000 because they are unwittingly driving without a valid licence.

They risk prosecution after failing to spot the extremely small print on their photo card licence which says it automatically expires after 10 years and has to be renewed - even though drivers are licensed to drive until the age of 70.

The fiasco has come to light a decade after the first batch of photo licences was issued in July 1998, just as they start to expire.

Motoring organisations blamed the Government for the fiasco and said 'most' drivers believed their licences were for life.

A mock-up driving licence from 1998 when the photo cards were launched shows the imminent expiry date as item '4b'

They said officials had failed to publicise sufficiently the fact that new-style licences - unlike the old paper ones - expire after a set period and have to be renewed.

To rub salt into wounds, drivers will have to a pay £17.50 to renew their card - a charge which critics have condemned as a 'stealth tax' and which will earn the Treasury an estimated £437million over 25 years.

Official DVLA figures reveal that while 16,136 expired this summer, so far only 11,566 drivers have renewed, leaving 4,570 outstanding.

With another 300,000 photo card licences due to expire over the coming year, experts fear the number of invalid licences will soar, putting thousands more drivers in breach of the law and at risk of a fine.

At the heart of the confusion is the small print on the tiny

credit-card-size photo licence, which is used in conjunction with the paper version.

Just below the driver name on the front of the photo card licence is a series of dates and details - each one numbered.

Number 4b features a date in tiny writing, but no explicit

explanation as to what it means.

The date's significance is only explained if the driver turns over the card and reads the key on the back, which states that ‘4b’, means 'licence valid to'.

Even more confusingly, an adjacent table on the rear of the card sets out how long the driver is registered to hold a licence - that is until his or her 70th birthday.

A total of 25million new-style licences have been issued but - motoring experts say - drivers were never sufficiently warned they would expire after 10 years.

Motorists who fail to renew their licences in time are allowed to continue driving. But the DVLA says they could be charged with 'failing to surrender their licence', an offence carrying a £1,000 fine.

AA president, Edmund King said: 'It is not generally known that photo card licences expire: there appears to be a lack of information that people will have to renew these licences.

'People think they have already paid them for once over and that is it.

'It will come as a surprise to motorists and a shock that they have to pay an extra £17.50.'

The AA called on the Government to use the annual £450million from traffic enforcement fines to offset the renewal charge.

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There are 2 expiry dates on the licence one in the "your" details in full print also there a hologram under your photo there has your number plus the "Expire date" I don't remember seeing it on my old licence but I just moved house so it could be a new thing as its bigger print not much though!

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Just to make it even clearer.

On the back is the entittlement section where it clearly states from and to.

My front expirery date is in 2010,

the rear dates are 2028 which is the 70 year date.


my entittlements will be valid but the card that they are written on will not be???

Add this to the attempt to remove entittlements (trailer) when you renew (well once anyway) and you have a government who is desperate to make us all break the law or gain more revenue (or both).


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explains more, seems the expiry date is to do with the photo rather than the licence/entitlements.

WRONG,, its to do with extracting more cash from your wallet,, ie currently £17.50 ?? odd ever 10 years,,

I keeped my old paper type, and saved £40 odd :o

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Hmm, I thought this was obvious? It is written smack in the middle of your license.

There's nothing on the card to say it is an expiry date, it's just a date, to cap it as someone else has said the dates on the reverse are the year of my 70th birthday.

I checked the paper elemnt as well, nothing on here is telling that the photocard expires.

I would say this is hardly clear.

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4b shows either the date the photo expires (driving entitlement is valid until 70th Birthday) or the date entitlement expires (medically restricted and over 70 licences).

Ralph,, Try reading it again

The new Driving license ie B&W pictures ones have a life of 10 years

4a shows the date of issue ,,, Licence valid from ie 15-02-09

4b shows the date the licence expires ,,, Licence valid to ie 14-02-19

The date the photo expires is under the picture ie Feb 19,,, (10 years )

In 14 (on the back) it gives driving entitlement,, and valid until the holders age is 70

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The new one's do , along with valid from and to dates in 4,, ie 10 years ONLY

but that's a new type licence on the link I added above, which must be slightly different to the final issue which is confusing the info between us & it's completly different to my photocard licence, which has 2 photo's on the front.

I'll find out when mines due for renewal next January.

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Hmm, I thought this was obvious? It is written smack in the middle of your license.

mmm yeah that is what i thought. when i first got mine 3 years ago i saw that . I took it that after 10 years your photo on your license would need renewing as it would not be a likeness

mmm just another thing that people can't do and expect the goverment to wipe their backside for everything ,Can't anyone take responablity for anything these days

BTW in Aus i have to renew my Queensland driving license every 5 years

So my UK driving license runs out in 2015 and my Aussie one runs out in 2010 But i got them both at the same time ;)

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Paper licence doesn't have this restriction - worth hanging onto it IMO.


Yes, unless you change address. You are legally obliged to inform DVLA of your current abode. Moving house was the only reason I have a photo card license. Now I'm stuck with one :angry:

It was only brought to my attention recently of this expiry business. I had always assumed the 70th birthday bit still applied.

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i couldnt find mine, but my gf's runs out on 12-06-10, but has only just been updated due to change of address. i was under the impression this was due to the new style licenses coming in.

the only problem with updating you licence is it can unvalidate your insurance if the addresses differ. and i think you can be fined for it.

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Its just another way of fleecing us all, you have to send a new photo too - my renew letter arrived last month and this has reminded me to send it off as altho i could do without the £17.50 ripoff charge i really cant afford the £1k fine!!!

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Bugger. Mine runs out 30-04-09. So has anyone been sent a letter by the DVLA telling them their licence needs renewing, or are we just expected to know?

Yes, thats yes they send a reminder. Mine ran out last month and a reminder came through the post with the forms to fill in etc. I cannot say whether this is a new thing from the DVLA or not as it is the first time it has run out of cource.

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My first licence was in a little red book. Nice hard front and back, just the right size for your wallet, never faded or fell apart.

My paper licence has been in 8 pieces for about the past 20 years, the writing has all but worn off. It does not easily fit into my wallet.

When do you need to get a photo licence, or is it only new drivers that need them?

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