Legal stuff

Plan ahead – How will changes to the UK driving licence affect you when hiring a car?

Currently when hiring a car at home or abroad the hire company will ask to see the paper part of your driving licence to check for any endorsements/restrictions.  After the 8th June the paper part is invalid but you’ll still need to prove that your licence is valid to allow you to rent a vehicle, to do this you can generate a unique code.

But beware – prepare!

Once you’ve generated your code it is only valid for 72 hours. The best advice is to contact your hire company to find out in advance what they ask you to bring with you when hiring a car. Find out more about the new system by visiting

No more counterpart – UK driving licence changes

The paper part of a driving licence was introduced in 1998 as a way to display information that couldn’t fit on the photocard, such as penalty points.  The DVLA announced that from the 8th June the paper counterpart will no longer be treated as a legal document.

However, this doesn’t mean that employers can’t find out if you have any penalty points! As well as you being able to check your details efficiently and for free, the new online service will allow you to generate a code which you can give to your employer if they need to check which vehicles you are licensed to drive and if you have any penalty points or disqualifications. You can view the details on your licence here  and make enquiries by phone too on 0300 790 6801.

If your paper licence was issued to you before the photocard was introduced in 1998 then it will remain valid so don’t destroy it, keep it safe! And these changes don’t apply at the moment in Northern Ireland, where the counterpart is still used. Find out more about the new system by visiting

Scotland England drink driving limits differ

Ahead of the Christmas season, the legal blood alcohol level in Scotland has been reduced from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml of blood.


The new limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml blood, which is effective from 5th December 2014, is in-line with Northern Ireland and much of Europe, the limit in England and Wales is unchanged at 80mg.

Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice secretary, commented that there was broad support to reduce the drink-drive limit in Scotland, with a previous government consultation showing that close to three quarters of the public backed the proposed change. 

This lower limit means drivers are in danger of breaking the law if they have drunk even a small glass of wine or one pint of beer.

MacAskill added: “The support comes not just from the police and law enforcement. It comes from those involved in road safety.”

This move has been welcomed by many organisations including RoSPA, a safety charity that has been at the heart of accident prevention for nearly 100 years