From Monday 8th June, when the paper part of the photocard driving licence is abolished, holidaymakers travelling abroad will have to log onto the DVLA's 'Share Driving Licence' service before they leave to submit their driving licence number and national insurance number to generate a unique code.

Drivers will be required to give this code to the hire company when they arrive, to enable the organisation to check their driving record online. Without it, they may be refused vehicle hire. This code is only valid for 72 hours, which means that holidaymakers that need to hire a car later in their holiday might have to find free WiFi access to generate a new code.

  • Car hire chaos: Four out of five (79%) of those surveyed would arrive at the car hire office with incorrect documents, 11% would just take their driving licence photocard and 42% have no idea what they should produce.

  • Online access code ignorance: Almost three out of four drivers (73%) are not aware they have to produce a code when renting a vehicle overseas to enable the hire company to check driving records online.

  • 72 hour deadline: Amongst those that are aware of the code, one in five think it should be valid for a week, not the current window of 72 hours. 46% believe you should specify the duration of the code when you generate it.

  • National insurance nightmare: Accessing online driving records requires a national insurance number. This could cause problems as 78% of drivers would not take this number on an overseas trip.

  • Government gain 8 million: The decision to abolish the paper counterpart is designed to simplify the DVLA's services. Experts predict the move will save the Government 8 million2.

With the paper counterpart of the photocard driving licence set to be scrapped on Monday 8th June 2015, new research from financial comparison website money.co.uk reveals potential car hire chaos for UK holiday makers.

The research, which was carried out amongst 1,435 drivers1, shows that almost a third (29%) are completely unaware of the changes taking place next week.

Just to cause further confusion, almost three quarters (73%) of those that hire vehicles overseas do not know about the code they must produce at the rental office. This code is only valid for 72 hours but 74% of drivers do not know the length of validity and one in ten do not know there is a time limit.

Post-abolition car hire documents

After the abolition of the paper licence counterpart, 79% of drivers that hire vehicles overseas claim they would not take the correct information with them when they pick up their hire vehicle.

Only 21% would take their photocard driving licence, booking information and the online driving record access code. 42% simply do not know which documents are required for overseas car hire after the 8th June and more than one in ten would just take their photocard driving licence with them.

Failure to produce the correct documents for the hire company could result in holiday makers being left stranded. Drivers may not be able to drive vehicles away if the organisation cannot access their driving records online.

72 hours is not long enough

Only one in ten drivers feel the 72 hour validity window of the driving record access code is an acceptable length of time.

One in five feel it should be at least one week, 16% think it should be at least two weeks and almost half (46%) believe you should be able to specify the length of the holiday when you generate the code online.

This could be a problem for drivers that generate the online code before they leave the UK and do not hire a vehicle as soon as they reach their holiday destination.

These drivers will need to repeat the process in order to enable the hire company to check their driving records online before they can take the hire vehicle away.

Drivers can also print out a paper version of their online driving record before they leave the UK but there is no guarantee that every hire company will accept this.

National insurance nightmare

One of the key pieces of information required to access online driving records is a national insurance number, a piece of information that four out of five drivers who hire vehicles abroad do not take on holiday with them.

To find this number, almost a third (30%) would have to look at a pay slip and 17% would have to dig through paperwork. Just one in ten (11%) still have their national insurance number card to refer to.

Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief comments;

We appreciate the DVLA's changes set out to make life simpler for drivers but teething problems are inevitable.

This isn't just about consumer awareness; it's about how effectively car hire companies communicate the changes to their employees - including overseas outlets.

With language barriers to overcome, we do not want to see holidays ruined and people stranded because they can't pick up the hire vehicles they've booked.

The important point here is to take; a print out of your driving record, a 72 hour access code, your photocard driving licence, a note of your national insurance number and paper counterpart just to be on the safe side.

Drivers with photocard driving licences are being advised to destroy the paper counterpart after the 8th of June but we would recommend holding onto it for a little while as the service 'beds in'. If you've only got a paper driving licence (that's licences issued before 1998) you need to keep hold of it. These will remain valid and should not be destroyed.

Notes to editors:
About :

money.co.uk, recently ranked second fastest growing business in the Sunday Times Fast Track, was established in 2008 by Chris Morling and remains the only independently owned comparison website within the top players in the UK. The Cirencester based business employs around 38 people and is currently one of the most used financial comparison websites in the UK, attracting around 2.5 million visitors a month. It's a free, online comparison service which allows customers to compare a range of personal finance products and utility services. The website compares over 20,000 products across 56 categories using over 800 comparison tables, offering consumers the best tools and information.