The decision to phase out the paper counterpart is a result of the government's Red Tape Challenge and is part of the DVLA's commitment to simplifying its services.The changes are expected to save the government £8 million, according to Auto Express."Motorists shouldn't have to keep numerous bits of paper just to prove they can drive and have bought insurance – we live in digital age and we need to embrace that," then Transport Secretary Justine Greening told the Daily Telegraph when the measures were first announced."Reducing the number of rules and regulations in our life is absolutely vital to removing barriers to economic growth and increasing individual freedoms."This whole process just proves that there's so much sitting on our statute books that at the very least needs a good spring clean or can be scrapped entirely."No, the AA has some concerns.They will need to give the agency their full name and address, driving licence number or date of birth, and a cheque or postal order for £5.The green counterparts are not the same as the old-style paper driving licences, which were issued before photocards came into existence and are still used by around eight million drivers. The new system does not apply to Northern Ireland drivers either.Details of driving convictions are now held on the DVLA's digital records.Motorists can check their driving record by calling DVLA or visiting
Employers who need to check an employee's driving record will also be able to use the service.To enable a car hire company or employer to see your driving record, you will need to create a "licence check code" by logging on to Initially this single-use access code was only valid for 72 hours, but the checking period has now been extended to 21 days.Edmund King, president of the AA, told the Telegraph: "It is possible that hirers overseas, who have been used to checking a British driver's paper record in the past, may not know of the change and still ask to see the counterpart.Although the paper counterpart has now been rendered invalid, we are advising our members not to tear up their counterparts just yet, but to take them abroad as a 'belt and braces' measure if they intend to hire a vehicle." DVLA has suggested that holiday makers take their National Insurance numbers away with them in case they need to create a licence check code while abroad."This change could cause confusion," spokesman Paul Watters told the South Wales Evening Post."Not all drivers are comfortable with computers and surfing online.Used alongside the last eight characters of your driving licence number, it will allow the company to see which vehicles you can drive and any penalty points or disqualifications you have been given.For those without internet access, a phone number has also been set up so that drivers can call the DVLA and give permission for their driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation.In April, the RAC told the BBC that 55 per cent of drivers had no idea that the rules were about to change.So what do the changes mean for Britain's 46 million motorists?