DVLA's new car-hire and licence rules continues to cause chaos and confusion for British holidaymakers

Agency's new website crashed just hours after launch as car-hire industry blames government for 'rushing the process'

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The Independent Online

New car-hire rules set out by the DVLA are causing confusion and stress for British holidaymakers as the agency’s website crashed yesterday – the day the new rules came into force.

As thousands of motorists battled with the scheme, the DVLA blamed “exceptional” demand for the new online system which has been designed to allow motorists to prove that they can legally drive when hiring a rental car.

Before, when collecting a hire car, motorists had to show companies the paper counterpart of their UK driving licence along with the photocard one.

Even though most hire companies stopped asking to see the paper form, it was still used as proof of whether or not drivers had any endorsements which could affect them from hiring.

As of yesterday, however, the DVLA abolished the paper counterpart with motorists’ information now being held solely on their computer systems.

Now, when drivers go to collect their car, not only will hire firms have to get their details online but drivers will have to apply for a special code from the DVLA website to even allow access to their details.

To get the code, motorists will have to enter their driving license number, National Insurance number and postcode into the Gov.uk website. Even more of a downside? The code only lasts for 72 hours, so it will have to be generated right before travelling.

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Some hire companies may accept a print-out version of these details although that will be at the firm’s own discretion.

After more than 30,000 motorists flooded the DVLA website yesterday in just a few hours, the new system crumbled. But, the DVLA insists more than 20,000 drivers were able to use the site successfully.

The car-hire industry accused the DVLA of being too hasty with the system and the Chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, Gerry Keaney, said: “Replacing paper forms with digital services is a great idea, but the government has gone about this the wrong way by rushing the process.”

The DVLA’S chief executive, Oliver Morley, insists the system is complicated and said: “It’s very easy to view and share your driving record.

“Just go to gov.uk and search for 'view driving licence'.”

Mr Morley also assured drivers they can save their driving records as a PDF file which they could then store on a mobile device.

Visit the DVLA website for step-by-step guide on getting through the new process.