Motorists have been reminded to renew their driving licence to avoid paying up to £1,000 in fines.
Almost one million people in the UK held recently expired driving licences, according to figures from the Driving and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA).
Data, attained by the PA, revealed 926,000 drivers had photocards that should have been renewed in the year leading to the end of August, Chronicle Live reported.
Photocard licences need to be reapplied for every ten years so the DVLA can make sure the photo still bears a resemblance to the driver. Failure to renew the licence results in a £1,000 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.”
Those worried the deadline will pass without knowing will be reassured to find out that the DVLA warns them of the expiry 56 days beforehand. By acting on this reminder to renew the picture they can avoid breaking the law.
However, many motorists fail to receive the letter, as they did not inform the DVLA when moving house, and therefore, it would have been sent to their previous address.
Those who do renew their licence will only have to pay £14 for the new photocard online and wait up to five days to receive it. It costs £17 to do it through the post, while the Post Office charges £21.50.
In the meantime, they can carry on driving with the expired licence, so long as the DVLA is processing a new one. They then need to return their old photocard, otherwise they will be breaking the Road Traffic Act of 1988.
Speaking to the Metro, RAC Foundation’s Philip Gomm also advised people to update their driving licence as it is a good form of ID, particularly if stopped by the police.
He added that re-applying for a licence is a good opportunity to think about whether you are still able to drive, whether your eyesight is good enough, and if it is safe for yourself, passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians for you to be behind the wheel of a car.
Mr Gomm said the RAC believes there should be a compulsory eye test linked to the renewal of the photocard “to make sure we all remain safe on the road”.
Those over the age of 70 need to renew their driving licence, even if their photocard is still valid. In order to receive a new one, they need to meet the minimum eyesight requirement, which includes being able to read a car number plate from 20 metres away, with glasses or contact lenses if needed. They also require adequate field of vision and visual acuity of at least decimal 0.5 on the Snellen scale, which opticians can help determine.
The spokesperson for the DVLA reminded those who no longer drive they still need to contact the organisation.
“If you stop driving altogether, you should inform the DVLA and return your licence rather than keeping it as a form of out-of-date photo ID,” it was added.
Drivers with up-to-date licences should get in touch when looking for rental cars in London.