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Paper Driving Licence to be Phased Out

Book Theory Test Today blogger examines the end of another era…

The Book Theory Test Today blogger says: “Not content with the removal of the 90-year-old tax disc, the DVSA has now set its sights on phasing out the counterpart paper licence. I feel like technology is taking over, especially during the last few weeks, with all this talk of driverless cars and the abolition of tax discs to make way for a new computer based system.

It all seems a little surreal that everything I associate with learning to drive, passing my theory test and getting a driving licence etc, is changing. I, like many, have grown up with the tax disc and the counterpart driving licence, and I’m not a fan of change, particularly when everything is being ‘computerised’. It only takes one system crash for all the data the DVSA stores to be lost.”

Well one man’s opinion won’t change the reality that on January 1st, 2015 the counterpart paper driving licence will no longer exist. It’s hard to imagine that those learner drivers passing a theory test and practical driving exam after this date will no longer get a paper driving licence.

As expected, all licencing information will be shifted online and let’s face it, it was coming. There were murmurs of such action back in 2011 when the then transport secretary, Justine Greening, announced that getting rid of the counterpart paper licence could save the UK £8 million.

The Book Theory Test Today blogger says: “Apparently, Whitehall’s computer systems have become advanced enough to do away with the paper licence, R.I.P to the counterpart.”


Since 1998, those passing the driving theory test and practical exam have been presented with a photo card that’s the same size as a bank card. This photo card comes complete with an A4 sheet of paper showing detailed information about the holder. But, after 16 years’ service, it’s being decommissioned, rendered obsolete by technology.

In a statement from Brian McDowall, spokesperson for the Alliance of British Drivers in the East Midlands, he said: “More people are relying on the online world year on year and everything will inevitably go online in the end. The only issue is that the government need to get their act together to ensure the database is updated 24/7.”

He added: “If not and there’s been a mistake on the computer system, people will be physically stopped on a journey which can cause problems.”

The Book Theory Test Today blogger says: “Mr McDowall raises a very good point, data entry is riddled with errors and those mistakes will be detrimental to some drivers, especially when they have to be stopped mid-journey. What I like, or liked, about the paper licence is that it’s in my possession, hard evidence if I’m ever pulled over for whatever reason.

Now, all the those details will be off in the cloud somewhere and it only takes a really clever hacker to get access to those details and use them for criminal activity. Leave the paper alone.”

Book Theory Test Today offers an intermediary service assisting clients with booking a UK driving theory test, or practical test, at test centres across the nation. The service also supplies resources to help you prepare for your driving theory test – Ready to take your theory test? Book your theory test online today…        

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