On May 19th, the DVLA moved their new Share Driving Licence service into the public domain. This is the latest step in allowing British drivers to share their information with selected companies and individuals in the motor trade or elsewhere, while still keeping most of their driving records private.
In essence, the service has been devised in part replacement for the old paper counterpart of the driving licence, which became obsolete on June 8th. The paper part of the licence held information such as any endorsements along with details of which class(es) of vehicle the holder was entitled to drive. This information now forms part of the new shared service, and can be viewed and shared with anyone at the discretion of the driver. For example, an employer may need to view your driving details and entitlements as part of a job application process; similarly, car and van hire companies may also wish to see your licence details in addition to an insurance policy before releasing their vehicles to you. Note that it is illegal to obtain and use personal driver information without the consent of the individual, and drivers must give permission before their data can be shared with a third party.
The new online service makes all this very straightforward. The new shared service can be found on the “View Driving Service” on the DVLA’s website; once you have called up your personal details, you can generate a “check code” which can be shared with a third party, allowing them to view your details. Information can also be printed or saved to your computer or device and shared in various ways. The shared information includes your name, the final 8 digits of your licence number, vehicle entitlements and any current endorsements or convictions. Importantly, this service is also completely free to access and use – it could be checked from a dealership for example before taking a customer for a test drive on trade plates.
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Note that there are still a number of restrictions with the online services provided by the DVLA. The service is not available to anyone who has a licence that was issued in Northern Ireland, and can also not be used to check the progress of a new licence application. Crucially, the service only stores current information, so any historical penalty points and endorsements, for example, are not displayed, nor details of any new and used cars that you may own. Accessing the service is straightforward: drivers simply need to enter their driving licence number, their postcode and a National Insurance number for identification, and can then view their information and share with third parties.
The Share Driving Licence service was tested out by 38 organisations, including businesses and charities, using live data from mid-March to mid-May, ahead of its release to the public. This group was asked to provide feedback and suggestions which could then be incorporated into the full service. The DVLA are committed to working with drivers and end-users throughout the implementation of the service, and contact details are provided to allow users to get in touch to discuss the way their information is displayed and used.