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Has Your Driving Licence Really Expired?

In the UK, around 7% of drivers have out of date information on their driving licence, meaning they are at risk of receiving a hefty fine from the DVLA if they are stopped by the police.

Over 2.6 million drivers have failed to update their current address on their licence which poses a risk of a £1,000 fine, meaning the DVLA could rake in over £2.6 billion from fining drivers who have failed to do something which is free for them to do.

DVLA guidelines state that the photograph on a driving licence should be updated every ten years. The current cost of updating a photograph for a driving licence is £20.

On the plastic photo card part of a driving licence, on line 4b there is an expiration date. This date states the expiry of the photograph, however, some police forces have unknowingly interpreted this date to be the expiration date of the actual driving licence, so when people present their documents they are accused of driving with an invalid licence. If this were true, it would be an offence of ‘driving than otherwise in accordance with a licence’, contrary to S.87.1, which is an offence that carries penalty points.

Many people have pleaded guilty, not knowing that they are in fact, not guilty. Failure to update the photograph on your driving licence every 10 years, you are in fact committing an offence as it is the failure to have the correct information on the licence (s.99.5 RTA 1988) and are liable to a £1000.

Some insurance providers argue that expiration of the photo invalidates vehicle insurance as the licence is invalid. Again this is untrue as a licence is valid until the DVLA revoke it. Some police forces continue to prosecute on grounds of the license being invalid and some may try to seize the vehicle on grounds of no insurance. If this happens, it is highly recommended you seek legal advice urgently.

Please visit our ‘find a solicitor’ page for details of solicitors in your area.

To update details or renew your’ driving licence, this can be done through the website:

Contact details for the DVLA can be found here:

Information about driving licences can be found here:

Author: Lauren Spence

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic.

Published on 27th November 2013
(Last updated 28th March 2018)

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