Replacing your driving licence if lost, stolen, defaced or destroyed
Your driving licence is a vital document, which you must have available when driving on the roads. In the UK the driving licence takes the form of two parts, a plastic credit-card-sized licence to carry with you, and a paper form that many people keep at home.
The driving licence card serves as a form of identification and includes basic information about you including your name, address, photograph, and the type of driving licence you are qualified to hold.
The paper document is a green licence that contains similar data to the card format; however, there is no photograph. The paper licence is more comprehensive as it contains details of any road traffic offences and penalty points you have on your licence.
Replacing a lost licence
You can replace a lost licence online or via your local Post Office. You can apply for a new licence if yours is lost, damaged or destroyed. If your licence is stolen then you need to report the theft to the police.
To replace your drivers’ licence you will need to be currently allowed to drive, have a valid form of photo ID such as a passport, and know your National Insurance number. You will also have to provide addresses for the past three years and be able to pay the £20 fee.
The licence usually takes around one week to arrive. You can apply online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-to-replace-a-driving-licence.
Do I have to produce my licence if stopped by the police?
If stopped by police they are entitled to ask to see your driving licence, and if you do not have the licence with you they may give you an HO/RT1 Producer for driving licences, insurance certificates and MOTs.
HO/RT1 stands for Home Office / Road Traffic 1 form, and is issued by police under powers granted by section 165 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This Act allows police to request you to produce for inspection a valid motor insurance certificate, a current MOT certificate for the car you are driving, and a driving licence.
If you are unable to produce these documents then the HO/RT1 gives you up to seven days to attend a police station to present your documents. If you have lost your driving licence then this could be a problem.
What if I have lost my licence?
If you have lost either part of your driving licence, or both parts, then you may breach the seven-day rule for producing your documents subsequent to an HO/RT1 order.
The best way to proceed is to order replacement documents at the earliest opportunity. Once you have ordered replacements you will have to wait a week to receive the documentation. This will probably result in your being unable to produce your licence within seven days of your HO/RT1; however, in such circumstances you should still attend the station to produce your MOT and insurance documents.
You should explain your position and demonstrate that the replacement documents have been ordered and paid for. Although you will likely breach your HO/RT1, if you are able to produce a valid licence a day or two later, it is highly unlikely the police will prosecute.