Nearly 1 million U.K. drivers could be at risk for fines up to £5,000 for failing to renew their expired driving licenses, warns motoring experts at online car leasing company LeaseCar.uk.
Recent figures from the government’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) reveal the more than 926,000 people in Britain — about 2% of the country’s drivers — need to update their driving licenses. (The DVLA stats may include some people who have stopped driving altogether.)
Even though the DVLA sends warnings to motorists whose licenses are due to expire in a few months before, figures from the last 12 months state that 2.5 million people only renewed their license after it had expired or within 56 days of the expiration date.
According to current DVLA rules, licenses must be updated every 10 years up until the age of 70, when the renewal term drops to every three years. License renewals are free for those over 70.
Drivers are also at risk of a fine of up to £1,000 if they fail to return an expired license under the Road Traffic Act 19.
“It is easy to find out if your [license] needs renewing — the expiration date is on the front of the license in section 4b,” said Tim Alcock, director of online marketing for LeaseCar, He recommends renewing a license at least two months before it expires
According to LeaseCar, U.K. licenses can be renewed in three ways:
- The GOV.UK Website. The quickest and easiest way to renew a license is online at the government's website. The application costs just £14 and takes less than a week to process. Drivers will need a valid U.K. passport and must be able to provide basic information such as addresses from the last three years, national insurance number and driving license number.
- By Post. To renew a driving license by post, applicants must complete a “D1 pack” of forms, available at post office, dealing with DVLA photocard renewal. The forms and any other documents the DVLA requests can be sent by post. The fee is £17, and the renewed license should arrive withing three weeks.
- At the Post Office. Licenses can be renewed in person at any post office. Drivers will need to take their current photocard driving license and pay a £21.50 fee. Bringing the renewal reminder is recommended. Post officials will send the application electronically, and the new license should arrive within three weeks.