Millions of drivers in Britain are at risk of being fined, MoneySaving Expert.com founder Martin Lewis has said. Speaking in his latest email on the free advice website, he warned how two million drivers have photocard licences that are no longer valid – which could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.
The financial guru site said: “Photo driving licences usually expire after 10 years… If you don’t renew, you ultimately risk being fined,” adding: “The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) says a whopping two million or so are out of date.”
Although it can easy to forget, driving licence photos must be replaced every 10 years (no matter how young you look), with fines for ones that are out-of-date costing up to a whopping £1,000, the Mirror reports.
Paper licences were replaced by Photocard licences in 1998 and must be renewed every ten years. This is not just to do with road safety – it’s more about catching people driving illegally.
According to MoneySavingExpert.com, there are three ways to apply for a new licence:
- Online: You can apply online at Gov.uk, providing you’ve a valid UK passport.
- By post: Alternatively, anyone can get forms (known as ‘D1 pack’) from most post offices, or order one from the DVLA website (in the ‘Other ways to apply’ section).
- In person at selected post offices: The Post Office charges an extra £4.50 to take your photo on top of the £17 fee, but the total also includes posting your application to the DVLA.
When your licence nears its expiration date, the DVLA should send a reminder letter – this should be around one month or so prior. Once the letter has arrived, drivers should make a start on their the renewal process by first checking the expiry date printed on section 4b on the front of the photocard and then deciding how they want to renew their licence whether it be via post, in the post office or online.
Once the renewal has been completed, a new licence will be valid from the date the application has been approved – not from the expiry date of the current licence. It costs £14 to renew a driving licence online, or £17 if it is renewed by post. For those who do it at the Post Office, there is an additional £4.50 charge to take a photo and post the application as well.
When drivers reach the age of 70, they need to renew their driving licence every three years – but this is free to do. If a driver’s licence has already expired, they won’t get a fine for renewing it late – but the DVLA says motorists should not drive until it has received their completed renewal application.
If the licence expires while an application is being processed, drivers can continue driving as long as they meet certain conditions, including only driving vehicles that they were previously allowed to drive. Motorists can also carry on driving if they’ve not being told by a doctor or optician that they shouldn’t drive, and they aren’t disqualified from driving.