From today (8 June), the paper driving licence is being replaced by an online service, Share Driving Licence, which the DVLA claimed will save taxpayers millions each year.

The DVLA said that it had to replace 445,000 paper counterparts last year because drivers had lost them.

Motorists were charged £20 each to cover the cost.

“Replacing the counterpart with an online service will save motorists money and reduce unnecessary red tape,” said transport minister, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon. “When the driver chooses to share it, those organisations will be able to see completely accurate information direct from DVLA’s records. This will reduce their risk and improve road safety.”

Last month, the DVLA moved its long-awaited licence-checking tool, Share Driving Licence, out of a private beta into a public beta.

The free tool allows users to view the vehicle categories they’re entitled to drive and any endorsements or penalty points accrued.

The service allows driving licence holders to share information held at the DVLA with others – such as rental companies – while ensuring they stay in control of who sees it, the DVLA said.

It also enables users to share licence information with third party companies via a unique single-use code, which the third-party can use to access licence information.

To check if a driver has the correct licence, the driver must request an access code from the DVLA, which remains active for 72 hours.  This is then provided to the employer, who uses the online service to make the check.

The service can be found here.

In February, the DVLA produced a communications toolkit aimed at helping fleets to prepare for the upcoming abolishment of the photocard licence counterpart.

The toolkit includes banner adverts, briefing packs, leaflets, posters and a video designed to help raise awareness of the changes.

The toolkit can be found here