A new licence check service system has officially taken over this week. The previous driving licence check service, the Electronic Driver Entitlement Checking Service (EDECS) has been abolished and replaced entirely by the new Access to Driver Data (ADD) service. The EDECS was available to many commercial organisations who could carry out queries on a drivers’ entitlement to drive. Those queries had to be in line with the DVLA guidelines, for example, on road safety guidelines. They also had to undertake a lengthy contract process, sometimes up to four months long, and pay annual charges to be able to use and search for driver licence information. However, questions were raised under this service about the privacy of driver details, such as whether these commercial organisations could sell personal information on to other companies.
Introduced last year, the new service provides real-time driving licence data. Since June, ADD has been operating alongside EDECS. However, this past week, ADD has taken over completely, and will be the number one licence check service system for the DVLA.
ADD’s real time driving licence data is achieved through a business-to-business interface, for individual record checks. However, third parties can only access this with the drivers’ consent. Consent from licensed drivers can be obtained using the existing Driving License Consent Form (D796) or it can be stored electronically. Although, the process for storing licence information this way needs consent and approval by the DVLA before implementation. It also costs third party license check sites around £25 000 – £30 000 plus a line rental cost of £6000 a year to do this. The process also takes around 4 months to install and set up by the DVLA. This arguably helps the privacy of licensed road users and will hopefully promote confidence in third party companies.
The closure of the EDECS marks the end of an era for the licence checking industry. And many third party companies, who have stored licence details in the past, have missed the deadline to adapt to the new process. LicenseCheck’s Richard Brown said “There’s no excuse for failing to stay up to date with how our industry has changed over the last 12 months.” and the company has reported that only 6.3% of all checks on licenses between April and December last year were made using the new system. This raises some concerns as to whether these companies, who have made the switch, have had ample time to test the new service. If the switch has been rushed and improperly implicated, licence data could have been corrupted or incorrectly sent to insurers who have requested the data. This could inflict serious damage on company reputation, and trust in the ADD system by the DVLA and licensed drivers.
You should contact the DVLA if you have any questions regarding driving licences or any other aspects of driving.