Motorists warned of huge £1,000 fine for simple driving licence error

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New data has revealed that the driving licences of more than 926,000 people in Britain on September 3, 2022 were out of date in the 12 months to the end of August. This number of drivers accounts for over two percent of all motorists, although it does also cover a small number of drivers who have stopped driving and not told the DVLA.

The data, obtained by the Press Association following an FOI investigation, found that many drivers are cutting it close when renewing their licence.

In the last 12 months, 2.5 million drivers in Britain renewed their licence after it had already expired or within 56 days of the expiry date.

Driving licence photocards must be renewed every 10 years, up until the age of 70, at which point they must be renewed every three years.

According to DVLA rules, failing to return an expired licence is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

This can lead to a fine of up to £1,000, although if they renew it past the expiry date, they will not receive a fine, the RAC reports.

The DVLA contacts drivers 56 days before their licence is due to expire.

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at, echoed the warning given by the DVLA for motorists to check when to renew.

He said: “It’s understandable that drivers may forget to check when their licence is due to expire as you’re only legally required to renew every 10 years. 

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“But letting your licence expire could result in you facing a fine of £1,000. 

“And with the current cost of living, this is an additional motoring cost that could easily be avoided by keeping it up-to-date.”

The DVLA recommends that drivers looking to renew their licence should use the online service, which it says is the “quickest, easiest and often cheapest way”.

If applying online, they should receive their driving licence or vehicle registration certificate (V5C) within five days.

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Following a massive backlog after the pandemic and industrial action, all of the DVLA’s services are operating within normal turnaround times.

Paper applications are being processed within three to four weeks, with the DVLA telling drivers to allow four weeks for new documents to be sent.

Mr Kindred added: “The good news is, you’re able to check your licence and other information online quickly. 

“And if it does need renewing, you can do this online at GOV.UK or in person at a local Post Office. 

“But be mindful that you’ll need to take your photocard driving licence with you if you renew at the Post Office, as well as pay a £21.50 fee.

“If you haven’t checked recently to see when your licence expires, it’s definitely worth having a look to avoid a hefty fine. 

“Other information is available online on how to check your driver’s licence which can also help to answer questions around what you need when taking out car insurance.”

If a motorist continues to drive without renewing, they could be prosecuted by the police, leading to a further £5,000 fine.

A spokesperson for the DVLA said: “We encourage customers to use GOV.UK as applying online is the quickest and cheapest way to renew their photocard driving licence.

“If you stop driving altogether, you should inform DVLA and return your licence rather keeping it as a form of out-of-date photo ID.”

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