We don't know where you live02 Mar 2009

The RAC Foundation is warning millions of motorists they could be facing combined fines of almost a billion pounds because they have failed to change their driving licence details after moving home.

Figures released by the Government show an astonishing 19% of all licences are thought to carry the wrong address details – that means around 7,900,000* drivers are facing fines of up to £1000.

When people move they are required by legislation to complete the address section of their photo-card’s paper counterpart and send it to the DVLA.

Foundation Director Professor Stephen Glaister says: “These figures indicate that something in the system is not working. We would urge all drivers to comply with the law and inform DVLA of their change in circumstances. Drivers should also be aware that incorrect paperwork might invalidate their insurance.”

“It seems many drivers simply don’t know they are in breach of the law and even if they are aware of the requirements they might not be able to find the vital paper counterpart to their photo-card licences which is needed to complete the process.”

“If drivers can’t provide that counterpart they are also liable to a £17.50 fine. In the long run the DVLA must ensure drivers are made aware of what to do when they move house. And given that vehicle records are 97% accurate why can’t the Agency cross reference information to keep a more complete record of cars and motorists?”



* The information was revealed in a written parliamentary question and answer extracted from Hansard.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has estimated the proportion of driving licence addresses which are inaccurate. [258217]

Jim Fitzpatrick: An accurate record is defined as one where the registered keeper of the vehicle or the driving licence holder can be traced from the details contained on the database.

The latest estimate of the accuracy of the vehicles record showed it was 96.9 per cent. accurate. This equates to 1,052,662 records that are inaccurate.

The latest estimate of the accuracy of the drivers record showed it was 81.5 per cent. accurate. This equates to 7,906,275 records that are inaccurate.

The responsibility for notifying the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) of a change of address lies with the vehicle keeper or licence holder. So far as vehicle records are concerned, there is an annual requirement to tax the vehicle and this transaction is a regular prompt to owners to fulfil the requirement to notify change of address. There is no equivalent annual driver transaction that prompts a notification.

DVLA works hard to maintain accuracy. The task is to encourage and support drivers and vehicle keepers to meet their obligations, and to that end, a dedicated accuracy improvement team has been established. Current initiatives in hand include checks of credit reference agency databases for current addresses and working
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with others in the cross government “Tell Us Once” initiative to obtain early notification of the death of a licence holder.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many prosecutions of driving licence holders there have been for failure to notify a change of address in the last year for which information is available. [258216]

Jim Fitzpatrick: By law, a driver licence holder is required to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of any changes to their personal details such as name and/or address. Failure to do so could result in prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.

Any action to enforce a fine is brought by the police and not DVLA. DVLA holds no figures on the number of prosecutions brought by the police.