The history of the UK driving licence


The year 1998 saw the introduction of the two part driving licence. Since its inception, people have had to give a passport type photo to the DVLA. The photo is mounted on the licence’s pink plastic card element. However, the photo card is to expire in 10 years, something that many people don’t know.

This means the photo will be expired but your entitlement to drive will still be active. This issue hasn’t received much public attention making as many as 1.4million people to go out with driving licenses whose photo has expired. This is likely to attract a fine. DVLA doesn’t seem to be in a hurry about dealing with the problem. However, some insurance companies and police forces know the problem exists.

What many people know is that they can drive up to the age of 70 once they have passed their driving test. For those who haven’t read through the small prints on the front side of their cards 4(b), they wouldn’t know what this section entails:

Licence Valid

Although the design of the photo card was changed from January 19, the date specified at 4(b) and all the explanations given on the reverse side of the card are still the same. You will find the words ‘Licence valid to’ on the card. However, DVLA’s official website has used ‘the expiry date of your license’. This is where many people start getting confused. It is also the area that has attracted widespread misunderstanding from police officers and insurance companies.

I have been asked by local police officers whether there is any offence in driving after the date specified on 4(b) has passed. Stories have been told about drivers who have been held liable for committing an endorsable offence that involves driving otherwise than in compliance with a licence’, which is against s.87 RTA 1988. If this is truly an offence, the police officers have the power to impound any automobile that is being driven and impose the relevant points to licences.