Press release

Drivers lose almost a million licences in the last year

Almost a million driving licences were lost by British drivers in the last year, according to latest figures released today by the DVLA.

Purse with a driving licence tucked into slot

Every driver in Britain needs to have a driving licence as proof of their entitlement to drive - but they don’t necessarily need to carry their licence with them.

Last year the majority of duplicate licences were issued through DVLA’s online service. While the DVLA recovers its cost from the fee drivers pay, DVLA is advising drivers to keep their licence safe to avoid having to pay for replacements.

Dudley Ashford, Drivers Service Manager at DVLA, said:

While you don’t legally have to carry your licence with you when driving, you need to have a licence in case you need to prove you can drive. So we’d recommend keeping your licence safe and secure at all times – perhaps storing it in one safe place along with other important documents.

Hopefully you won’t have to replace your licence but if you are going to carry it around with you and you then lose it, it’s always quicker to apply for a new one online.

The latest figures show that on average across Great Britain, 8 out of 10 people carry their driving licence with them. However, the figures also show that your age and where you live could decide where you keep your driving licence.

  • Drivers in Scotland are almost twice as likely to keep their licence in their car to the rest of Britain.

  • Welsh drivers are most likely to keep their driving licence at home.

  • Younger drivers across Great Britain are far more likely to choose to carry their licence with them (87%). The older a driver gets the more likely they are to keep their licence at home.

The figures also revealed that:

  • 82% of 16 to 24 years olds surveyed use DVLA’s online services to apply for, renew or update their driving licences
  • younger people are most likely to apply for photo renewals and replacement cards after misplacing their licence
  • drivers aged 70 and over, who must renew their licence every 3 years, are increasingly choosing to do this online
  • since 2010 the number of drivers aged 70 and above renewing their licence online has tripled to over 700,000 last year

Notes to editors:

  • 27 million transactions have taken place on the Driving Licence Online service since the service launched a decade ago at ‘Replace a lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed driving licence’
  • The most popular transaction is the ‘change of address’ service, allowing drivers to keep their licence up-to-date should they move.
  • Where fees apply they are pooled to help recover overall running costs. Over three quarters of all transactions we process are free of charge. These include some of the most common transactions, such as change of address or change of details.
  • The fee for replacing a lost driving licence is £20, through the online service or through the post.

Survey detail:

  • 22.7% of those surveyed from Wales said they kept their licence at home.
  • 3.10% of those surveyed from Scotland keep their licence in their car (compared to 1.7% national average).
  • 18.5% of over 55s keep their licence at home compared with 7% of 16 to 34 year olds.

Press office

DVLA Press Office
Longview Road


Published 14 March 2018