Law on driving licence exchange tightened to improve road safety
It is obvious to everyone, that drivers who have not been through a rigorous driving test will not be as safe as those who have.
An inconsistency in the law meant that previously some non EU drivers were able to exchange their licence without proving that the necessary standards to drive in this country had been met.
A change in law means requests to exchange driving licences from outside the EU will only be accepted if the licence holder can prove they passed a driving test in a country where the testing standards are comparable with those in Britain.
Foreign drivers must prove they have passed an appropriate driving test before getting a British licence under tough new rules announced by Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond.
By closing this loophole, Britain's roads should be even safer, and will help tackle fraud and level the playing field for British drivers who spend time and money learning to drive at the standard required in the UK.
This change in the law will mean we can be sure that any foreign drivers exchanging their licence here have already passed a test of a similar standard to ours. Make a booking
All driving licences issued by an EU state allow that driver to drive in any part of the EU and there is no need for them to exchange their licences.
This does not apply to drivers outside Europe but arrangements are in place with 15 countries that allow drivers to exchange their licences for a GB one. They do not need to take any additional driving tests as DVLA recognise that the licence they hold proves that they have already met the appropriate standards to drive in this country.
But because of an inconsistency in the law, some foreign drivers were able to exchange a licence with another overseas country with which DVLA have an exchange agreement, and then subsequently swap it for a GB one. This meant that DVLA could not be sure that the driver had met the appropriate standards to drive in this country before exchanging their licence.
The law will now make clear that the licence to be exchanged will only be issued on the basis that the driver has met the appropriate standards to drive in this country.
Foreign licence holders are allowed to drive in the UK for the last 12 months on an international permit, without the need to take a UK driving test.
This could cause problems for a UK motorists, as these drivers' presence could be a risk to road users' lives since they may not be familiar with the safest ways to negotiate British roads.
Whilst this is a step in the correct direction, it is argued that this change does not go far enough. Several of Karen's School of Motoring followers on Facebook have already expressed their thoughts, these include;
"People's lives may be at risk and it is an extremely disturbing situation."
"About time, but why can't they take a driving text here for a proven licence."
"Does this go far enough, could I drive in one of those countries safely?"
Feel free to add your thoughts.
[LINK: Learners licence for 1 year plus 50 hours of learning
[LINK: Earn a licence do not lose it
Keywords: Driving, law, licence, test, road safety