The DVLA has announced that the online codes drivers need to hire cars abroad will have their validity extended from 72 hours to 21 days.
This follows a wave of public backlash after the motoring body revealed the process that drivers now have to undergo in order to rent a car following the abolition of the paper licence counterpart.
After the paper counterpart was officially axed last month, holidaymakers were required to prove their eligibility to drive by presenting hire firms with an online code generated from the DVLA’s website.
Licence codes now valid for three weeks
However, criticism stemmed from the fact that the code, which stores information like driving endorsements and penalty points, was valid for a mere 72 hours before it expired.
As a result, drivers who accessed the website from home would be required to hire a car almost as soon as they’d reached their destination in order to beat the clock and redeem the code.
Furthermore, if a driver missed the window, they would have to repeat the process at a later date during their holiday, when internet access may either not be available or be much more expensive.
Hoped to make things easier for holidaymakers
As a response, the code’s validity will now be increased to 21 days, which it’s hoped will also take pressure off the website during peak holiday periods after it crashed upon the system’s launch.
Though the change has been welcomed by some, there remains some confusion over the new system, with motoring organisations claiming that the crossover period might prove difficult.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “It is possible that hirers overseas, who have been used to checking a British driver’s paper record in the past, may not know of the change and still ask to see the counterpart.
AA advising drivers not to scrap their counterpart yet
“Although the paper counterpart has now been rendered invalid, we are advising our members not to tear up their counterparts just yet, but to take them abroad as a ‘belt and braces’ measure if they intend to hire a vehicle.”
The DVLA has also updated its website to recommend that holidaymakers contact their intended hire company before leaving home to establish exactly what information the company will require.
It also reminds drivers that they will need to provide National Insurance details when entering the information required to redeem the online code from the DVLA’s website.