The details are contained in a survey published today by the National Audit Office, the public spending watchdog, and suggest the problem is much worse than previously thought.
For the NAO study, entries on the DVLA database were examined. Its findings contrast sharply with a DVLA survey of motorists' views which found 96 per cent thought their driving licence details were correct and 90 per cent believed their vehicle registration documents to be accurate.
Of the 35 per cent of driving licence errors discovered by the NAO: 54 per cent had wrong names, addresses, postcodes or dates of birth; and 24 per cent contained the wrong vehicle group. Similarly, more than half of the 25 per cent of vehicle registration errors related to names of owners, addresses and postcodes.
Four out of the five police forces interviewed by the NAO said inaccurate DVLA data had wasted their time. Motor organisations were also dissatisfied: the Society of Motor Manufacturers said that at the last vehicle census, 3.6 million of the 34 million vehicle records contained errors.
The errors arose either because of mistakes at Swansea or through motorists supplying the wrong details or not keeping the agency informed when changes occurred.
But, the NAO said, the DVLA should improve the system. One possible solution was to follow the Dutch example, and expand the MoT test to cover a check of a vehicle's registration documents.
Another was to copy the Republic of Ireland and put more resources into verifying data when it was first sent in.