You fought long and hard for it, putting in countless hours of practise and revision to get your hands on one – but it appears once we’ve got our licence, we’re not very good at actually keeping hold of it.
Brits spent almost £19 million in 2017, replacing lost or stolen licences according to the latest research from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Over 930,000 applications for replacement licences were submitted between January 2017 and January 2018 with the cost of each replacement coming in at £20.
It means that within a 12 month period, we shelled out a whopping £18.6 million with “younger people most likely to apply for photo renewals and replacement cards after misplacing their licence,” according to the DVLA.
On you, in car or at home?
Such figures suggest that it’s best to leave your licence at home – but you may be asking yourself if you’re even allowed to.
After all, you do need a licence to prove you can drive, something that young drivers across the country have clearly taken to heart with 87% carrying their licence with them at all times (plus it helps offer proof of age when trying to get into clubs/pubs or buy alcohol, etc.).
But carrying your licence with you might explain why licences are being so regularly lost or stolen. It’s worth remembering though that you are not legally required to carry your licence with experts recommending two alternatives instead.
First, you could keep your licence stashed in your car in, say, the glovebox so it’s out of view like the Scots do – according to the DVLA, drivers in Scotland are almost twice as likely to keep their licence in their car compared to other Brits.
Secondly, you could be like the Welsh – who are the most likely to keep their licence at home – and store it with other vital motoring-related docs such as insurance paperwork.
It seems we are as good at losing driving licences as we are socks, pens and teaspoons. At least we no longer have to worry about looking after the paper counterpart to our licence, which was phased out in 2015. In the year they were abolished almost half a million of these were lost too.”
– Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity, the RAC Foundation.
When the worst happens
If you do lose your licence (full or provisional) then you can apply for a new one online. It’s worth bearing in mind that if your licence is stolen, you must report the theft to the police.
To apply for a replacement licence:
• Head to the official portal to begin the process; you will need a debit or credit card to pay the £20 fee and also be able to provide the address (or addresses) of where you’ve been living over the past three years.
• Don’t forget your National Insurance number, passport number and driving licence number (if you have them).
• For your replacement driving licence photo, the DVLA will use an electronic copy of your existing passport photo if your photocard licence is due to expire within the next two years.
• If it isn’t, then the DVLA will send you a form so you can update the agency with a new photo for your licence.
• Once your application has been submitted, expect to wait a week for your new licence to arrive.
• Remember, if you find your lost licence in the meantime, you need to send it back to the DVLA.
• If you prefer, you can apply for a replacement licence by calling the DVLA or contacting them via post.