The UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has announced changes to its access code system for people renting cars. A DVLA spokesperson said the validity of the one-time use codes has now been extended from three days to three weeks.
The DVLA only introduced the system of applying for access codes on June 8 2015. On that date, the paper counterpart of two part UK photocard driving licences was abolished. To replace it, the DVLA introduced a system which required drivers hiring cars to apply for a code from the DVLA website.
When they picked up their rental vehicles, drivers gave the codes to the hire firm clerk who was then able to use it to check whether the driver had any endorsements or relevant disqualifications. As the codes had a maximum 72-hour validity before expiry, problems arose because renters going abroad were often unable to generate codes within the allotted time-frame.
Before the system went live, car hire and motoring organisations warned that the system was doomed to failure. This prophecy came true on the very first day when the webpage crashed as multiple users tried to apply for codes.
Having allegedly been swamped by complaints, the DVLA has bowed to public opinion and extended code validities to three weeks. Dudley Ashford, the agency’s services manager, said the move was a result of feedback from customers.
He noted the consensus of opinion had been that 72 hours was simply not long enough for the purposes of hiring cars or providing prospective employers with access to driving records. Mr Ashford finished off by saying the DVLA would review the 21-day window in three months time to ascertain if it was long enough or not.