Has your driving licence expired?

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 and consequently there are thousands of motorists 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.

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.

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.

To rub salt into wounds, drivers will have to pay £17.50 to renew their card. 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.