Car hire complication as code requirement set to be enforced

People renting cars abroad face having to take a special code with them to show convictions for offences like speeding.

The paper counterpart of British driving licences – which records endorsements and fines – is being computerised from June 8.

As a result anyone wanting to hire a car abroad could need a code by logging on to the DVLA website in advance.

To complicate matters, the code is only valid for 72 hours, so anyone wanting to hire a car more than three days into their trip may need to generate a new code while they are abroad.

For those who do not have internet access, a phone number will also be made available, the BBC reported.

However, the code is not an official requirement and it will depend on the individual hire company’s terms whether or not it is required.

The RAC said many drivers were unaware of the changes.

“Our research shows that with just over a month to go before the paper counterpart to the photo-card licence disappears, 55% of drivers are not aware of the planned change,” RAC spokesman Simon Williams said.

The AA said some car rental companies were unaware of the new arrangements.

“Not all car rental companies, or indeed traffic police abroad, will be aware of the changes, so a ‘belt and braces’ approach of also taking the counterpart might help,” said AA president Edmund King.

But the AA also said that hiring a car abroad without a paper counterpart is not always a problem.

Just as some car hire companies do not currently ask for a counterpart, not all will ask for a code after June 8.

The old-style paper licences, issued before the photo card was introduced in 1998, will remain valid, but holders will still need a code to fully validate them.

To view a record of their convictions, motorists can log on to the View My Driving licence page of the government website.

They will need their driving licence number, their national insurance number and their postcode.

The changes do not apply to driving licences issued by the DVA in Northern Ireland.

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