Driving law which could catch a million road users out with £1,000 fine
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Almost one million drivers could be facing a £1,000 fine after an investigation revealed that two percent of those on the road held expired licences.
The day you exchange your green provisional licence for an official pink one is a good day for any new driver, but chances are most of you have never really taken a close look at all of the information the little card holds.
Most people are only really concerned with the picture - otherwise it's just information you already know about yourself, like your name and address, or a bunch of numbers that don't really look that interesting.
However, there is one part of the licence that we should be paying attention to - the expiry date.
According to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) figures obtained by the PA news agency, as many as 926,000 people entitled to drive in Britain held licences on 3 September which had actually expired in the 12 months to the end of August.
Thankfully, approximately 2.5 million drivers did renew their photocard after it had expired or within 56 days of the expiry date over the last year, but failing to return an expired licence to the DVLA is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and can be punished with a fine of up to £1,000.
As it's pretty unlikely that all 926,000 of those with expired licences have actually given up driving, there looks to be a lot of people at risk of having to cough up the cash.
The expiry date on photocards can be found in section 4b on the front of the card.
Although drivers can typically retain driving entitlement until they reach 70 years old, photocards must be renewed every 10 years to ensure the image actually resembles the person behind the wheel, and not what you looked like a few decades ago.
After the age of 70, drivers must renew licences every three years in order to stay on the road.
The DVLA does write to people 56 days before their licence is due to expire to remind them they need to renew, but many drivers end up missing the letters if they have changed their address.
Philip Gomm, of the RAC Foundation, told The Independent: “There are good reasons to keep licences up to date, beyond the basic legal requirement.
“They are also a widely accepted form of ID and will certainly be required if you are ever stopped by police."
The DVLA also encourages people to renew licences on its official website as the quickest and cheapest method, with applications costing £14 and usually processed within five days.