Do You Have to Have Your Driving Licence on You?

If you’re new to driving, or if you’re in the process of replacing your licence for whatever reason, then you might not be aware of what the rules are when it comes to the driving licence. Namely, do you have to have it on you at all times?

Do You Have To Have Your Driving Licence on you While You’re Driving?

There is no legal requirement to have your driving licence on you while you’re driving. However, it might eventually save you some time if you do make a point of always driving with your licence to hand.

If the police ever stop you, they’ll be able to access your driving record without needing to see your physical licence. But they still might ask to see your physical driving licence. If you can’t produce it on the spot, you won’t get into any trouble. But you will then have 7 days to present your licence at a police station.

This would be a time-consuming hassle, which is why it’s a good idea to have you’re driving licence on you while you’re driving – regardless of the legal requirements.

Can I Drive While Waiting for a Replacement Licence?

If you misplace your driving licence, you’ll have to get a replacement. It can take a short while for a replacement licence to arrive. But can you drive while waiting for a replacement licence?

As we said above, there’s no legal need to have your licence on you while driving. So yes, you can drive while you wait for a replacement licence.

If the police stop while you’re waiting for your new licence, just explain the situation. You’ll still have a week to present your licence at a police station. Hopefully it won’t take longer than a week for your replacement licence to arrive! If it does then you may be able to provide evidence of your application and that it is in progress.

Can I Drive If My Licence Has Run Out?

If your driving licence expires, you’ll have to apply for a new one.

Section 88 of The Road Traffic Act 1988 & the Government website says that you can continue driving even when you don’t have a valid driving licence as long as you meet certain criteria.  In practice this means you can continue driving if you have applied to the DVLA to renew your licence, but the licence expires (runs out) while they are processing the application.

The criteria you need to meet is:

  • Your doctor must have told you that it’s safe for you to drive.
  • Your previous licence was not revoked or refused for medical reasons.
  • You are not currently disqualified from driving by a court.

These Section 88 rules may still apply even while you’re waiting on the results of DVLA medical investigations into your fitness for driving. Due to lockdown, the DVLA is currently working through a massive backlog of applications, which means that many people might have to wait longer than usual to find out whether they’re fit to drive. But so long as you meet the Section 88 criteria, you should be OK.

The main thing is, if you are waiting on the results of a DVLA investigation, talk to your doctor. You must decide between you whether or not it’s safe for you to drive. If necessary, point your doctor towards these government guidelines in assessing your fitness to drive.

Can I Drive After My Disqualification Has Ended?

Different driving convictions carry different penalties. Some will disqualify you from driving outright. But you can also get disqualified if you build up enough penalty points in a given period. You can read our complete guide to driving conviction codes and penalty points here.

The DVLA will usually send you a reminder 56 days before your disqualification ends. But once your period of disqualification has ended, can you start driving again?

If your disqualification was for 56 days or less, then you should be able to drive again as soon as your disqualification period comes to an end.

But if your disqualification was for 56 days or more, you’ll need to get your driving licence renewed before you can start driving again.

You’ll have to apply for a provisional licence. Once you get this, you’ll have to pass your theory and your practical test once again. You can start driving again from the moment you pass your practical test – you don’t have to wait for your new licence to arrive.

Following some driving convictions, you won’t be able to renew your licence unless you commit to an “extended test pass”. This means you need to take an extended practical test, which lasts longer and costs more than a standard test. But again, you can start driving again from the moment you pass.

If you have been disqualified from driving, you might struggle to find a car insurer willing to cover you. But at Go Girl, we offer convicted and disqualified driver insurance at an affordable price. Head here to learn more.


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