168,000 In The West Midlands Have Out Of Date Driving Licences
15 January 2015, 06:00
A Heart investigation's found that more 168,000 drivers across the West Midlands have out of date driving licences.
Photo card licences need to be updated every ten years, at a cost, but it seems a lot of people in our region aren't aware of that.
It means people across the West Midlands could collectively owe £168 million in fines. £1,000 per licence that's out of date.
In Birmingham most people we spoke to had no idea licences even needed to be renewed.
Tim Shallcross from the Institute of Advanced Motorists told Heart: "There does seem to be quite a lot of confusion about how and when you have to renew these driving licences and a lot of it is a legacy to the days when we just had a paper driving licence and it was valid until or 70th birthday."
"There still quite a lot of murky water about this, for example the police have been confused in the past. If they do follow it an try to prosecute somebody who's photographic licence has run out they seemed to be a bit confused about what it is they are not allowed to do and what it is they should prosecute them for."
The DVLA, which has provided us the figures via a Freedom of Information request, says anyone with an expired photocard licence faces a £1,000 fine and that it does write to people to inform them when their licences need updating.
In a statement a DVLA spokeswoman said:
"DVLA writes to every driver when their licence is due for renewal, providing instructions on how to renew and the penalty for not doing so. It is important they are kept up to date to ensure the details are correct, the photograph is a current likeness and that licences in circulation contain the latest security features to protect against fraud. "
"Appearances can change and it is important that the Police and other enforcement agencies have the best possible photograph to help correctly identify drivers. This helps prevent driving licence impersonation - stopping disqualified and perhaps dangerous drivers taking to our roads."
West Midlands Police have told Heart it's a DVLA responsibility to enforce fines, but officers can report drivers to the DVLA if their licence is found to be out of date.