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RAC warns Britons may have problems renting cars overseas

counterpart licenceThe RAC has warned that the scrapping of the paper counterparts for UK driver’s licences is bound to cause chaos for Britons when they hire cars abroad. The association’s Simon Williams says that surveys show more than half of UK motorists are totally unaware that the paper part of their licences can be consigned to the shredder after 8 June 2015.

Since photocard licences were introduced in 1998, British drivers have had to carry the paper part with it. This document lists any penalty points drivers may have incurred and is used by car hire firms and employers to check the driving records of hirers or potential employees.

Once the paper counterpart loses its legal validity in June, it is set to be replaced by a system whereby drivers will need a code to access their licence details on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) database. The system will require drivers to enter the details on their photocard licences to get the code.

Drivers will then supply the code to the likes of car rental companies and employers so that they can verify the details attached to the license. The RAC’s Mr Williams says problems are likely to arise in the UK with drivers who do not know about the changeover.

He also noted that as the codes only have a 72-hour validity, problems are likely to be exacerbated for Britons abroad. Most travellers spend more than three days on overseas trips and this means they would have to apply for a code to hire a car while on holiday.

Not every driver has ready access to an internet connection while on vacation, although the DVLA is launching an online function enabling drivers to get a PDF-format print of their records as well as a phone-in service. Mr Williams says hire firms outside the UK may not accept the printouts and may not know that UK drivers no longer need the counterparts either.

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