Practical help in-branch and online for anyone renting a car from 8th June 2015
On 8th June 2015 the DVLA will abolish the paper counterpart of the UK driving licence. From that date the information about an individual’s driving history, including endorsements, etc, will only be accessible directly from the DVLA. However, the DVLA has determined that only certain organisations will be able to access the information direct and that does not currently include vehicle rental companies. Europcar, the leader in car hire services in Europe, has therefore introduced a number of new initiatives to minimise the impact on its customers’ car hire experience.
For the UK vehicle rental industry the paper counterpart has always been an important component in checking an individual’s driving record in order to ensure they are qualified to drive and for the safety of other road users. Because the DVLA has decided that rental companies cannot access a customer’s driving licence data direct it has developed an online system for the individual to obtain a code that can then be used by the rental company to check the licence. The code – valid for 72 hours – will be accessible from the DVLA’s ‘Share Driving Licence’ service which goes live on 19th May 2015 on the DVLA’s website. Car hire customers simply input their driving licence number, National Insurance number and home postcode to generate the code which they then give to a rental company when collecting their vehicle.
Focused on ensuring the smoothest rental experience for its customers, Europcar has invested in a range of initiatives to help its customers with the new system. Along with text and email reminders and a 24-hour helpline, Europcar is making tablets and internet access available in its branches to enable travellers to get on their journey without being delayed by the DVLA changes.
Europcar is making the whole process as easy as possible. Customers booking their vehicle online will be directed to the DVLA ‘Share Driving Licence’ service and reminded to get their code no earlier than 72 hours before picking up their car. Customers booking by phone will be given the same advice.
Any customer submitting their email address or mobile number at the point of booking will also receive an email reminder or text message to ‘get your code’ 72 hours before their reservation is due to start.
If customers forget or are unable to get their DVLA code before collecting their vehicle, Europcar has the answer. It has invested in tablet devices for each of its 250 branches across the UK which means customers can obtain their code, via ‘Share Driving Licence’, at the Europcar branch. Plus, customers can call Europcar’s 24/7 dedicated ‘UK Licence Changes’ helpline if they have any queries before they start their car hire.
For UK licence holders travelling abroad, there’s no need to panic. Europcar’s processes have been adapted to account for the changes. Recognising that it may be difficult for UK travellers to access the DVLA website in the middle of a foreign trip, Europcar customers simply need to present their UK photocard driving licence or ‘old style’ paper-only driving licence plus a second form of ID such as their passport, when collecting their vehicle. Non-UK driving licence holders renting in the UK aren’t affected by the changes but they do need to bring a second form of ID such as a passport, along with their valid driving licence.
“We appreciate that the DVLA’s decision to abolish the paper counterpart of the UK driving licence may be cause for concern for some of our rental customers” explained Ken McCall, Managing Director, Europcar UK Group. “It is important, for the safety of all road users that we continue to check the licence of a driver before handing over one of our vehicles – it’s no different to an insurer providing insurance cover. But because the DVLA will not currently give rental companies direct access to the licence data we have invested in a range of initiatives and staff training to ensure the rental process in the UK remains straightforward.
“The best way for customers to make sure they’re on the road with the minimum of delay, is by visiting ‘Share Driving Licence’ up to 72 hours before picking up the vehicle. This way we get the information we need to ensure everyone booking a vehicle is fit to drive, keeping all of our customers and other road users safe. But if they don’t do that they just need to remember to bring their National Insurance number so that they can get their code online using one of our in-branch tablet devices.
“As Europe’s largest rental provider, Europcar aims to adapt to any changes in driving laws or regulations so that our customers can get on their journey as easily as possible. We are also continuing to work with the DVLA to try to find a solution that will mean our customers don’t need to go through the inconvenience of having to get a code for us to access their driving licence details.”