A new online licence checking service will launch this summer enabling insurance companies to check on motoring convictions and penalty points of drivers before insuring.
Individual driving records of all British motorists will be put online which should reduce the amount of invalid insurance policies but could also be concerning for data security. Currently insurers can check individual driving records through the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), a government body but it proves to be expensive and time-consuming, so insurers ask drivers to declare their licence history and assume some drivers will either lie or make an honest mistake about the number of points on their licence.
The data held will confirm the type of licence held by the customer and how long they have held their licence, and specify any driving offences.
The ABI said seven of the top ten motor insurers had registered for the service so far, before an expected launch on July 14. Others are sceptical about the possible savings for motorists and concerned about data security, Julie Daniels of the comparison site comparethemarket.com said "I believe that there will be little material change in premiums until the initiative is taken up across the industry.” Malcolm Maycock, director of Licence Bureau, a licence-checking company, said "the main concern with any system has to be data security."
Separate online database for consumers
The DVLA will have a separate online database for consumers to check that their details are correct as they will not have access to the MyLicence system. This system, called View Driver Record, is being piloted by the DVLA and is due to launch next month. Any drivers who do not have access to the internet will be able to use a service where telephone operators will talk them through their driving information held online. This may be helpful for many motorists as sometimes licences do not get updated when points have been added if you have forgotten to send your licence in.
The migration of driving licence data online is part of the Government's digital agenda, which has been gradually moving services on to the internet.
The paper counterpart of a driving licence is due to be phased out by 2015 in favour of a photo-card licence. Plus the paper car tax discs are due to be scrapped from October this year.
Geraldine Ashton Green
By Geraldine Ashton Green
Thu, 10 Jul 2014