International driving permits needed after no-deal Brexit13 Sep 2018

Post Offices to sell documents

Millions of UK drivers who travel to the continent are set to need international driving permits (IDPs) if there is a no-deal Brexit.

In its latest guidance the Department for Transport says that there are two types of IDP and the one which travellers require will depend on which country they wish to visit.

One type is governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. This is valid for 12 months and is recognised in Ireland, Spain, Malta and Cyprus.

The other type is governed by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. This is valid for three years (or longer if your domestic licence is valid beyond that point). It would be needed for all other EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland.

If you were driving through countries covered by different conventions then you would require both permits.

From February next year IDPs will be available from some 2,500 Post Office branches. Currently just 90 branches supply them.

They will cost £5.50 each.

There remains uncertainty as to exactly how many IDPs might have to be issued. The National Audit Office says anywhere between 100,000 and 7 million could be needed in the first year after Brexit, whilst the DfT believes between 2.3 and 2.6 million trips are made to the EU annually.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“While there is a potential solution to the driving licence issue, the trouble is no one seems to know quite how big the problem is.

“Government believes around 2.5 million trips are made to the continent each year, yet the National Audit Office estimates anywhere between 100,000 and 7 million people might apply for driving permits in the first year after Brexit.

“Throw in big variations in demand between seasons, plus the issue of whether drivers will actually need two different permits if they are travelling through a variety of countries and it is clear the challenges to both motorists and the Post Office could be significant.

“Ministers are at pains to point out to EU drivers travelling here that their existing licences will be recognised just as now. They will be hoping their continental counterparts end up offering similar reciprocal arrangements.”

ENDS

Contact:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

philip.gomm@racfoundation.org | 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

All the Foundation’s work is available at: www.racfoundation.org