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Drivers urged to check DVLA has licence record

It’s been revealed that some motorists who passed their driving test decades ago may not actually be licensed due to a computer glitch. Geoff Bullingham, a 62 year old resident of Hornsea, has just experienced a two year battle over his lost licence. It’s highlighted the fact that those with Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) registrations or even personalised plates, may need to check their licence credentials.

The saga began when Mr Bullingham was caught by a speed camera in Woodmansey. He was driving 6mph over the 30mph limit, and was offered the chance to go on a speed awareness course. However, to do this, Mr Bullingham needed to produce his licence. Despite having passed his test in 1972 and having a full physical copy of his licence, the DVLA claimed Mr Bullingham only had a provisional licence and, therefore, insisted he retake the driving examinations. As a result, he ended up in court, where there was the distinct possibility he could have been convicted for driving on the roads without a full licence.

Mr Graham Stuart, a local MP who stepped in to help, said “I met Geoff and could not believe the DVLA was insisting he didn’t have a licence when I was actually holding a copy of it in my hand. I took up the matter at Ministerial level, and after much pressure, DVLA changed its decision and is issuing Geoff with the full driving licence which he is entitled to.”

Meanwhile, Mr Bullingham believes the problem stems from the changeover of physically written records to computer ones in the early 1970s. Therefore, thousands of people could be driving on the roads with the DVLA believing they only hold provisional licences.

“I wrote letters to the DVLA for months but wasn’t getting anywhere. They kept saying I wasn’t on the database as having a full licence. I found a photocopy my (previous) employer took eight years ago, but they said that wasn’t acceptable,” Mr Bullingham said. He added that because the courts suggested he’d been driving without a licence, his employer would no longer let him drive, resulting in him having to hand in his notice. Finally, however, he received a letter from the DVLA saying they’d changed the status of his licence and were sorry for the inconvenience.

In a statement, the authority said it was vital they ensure everyone on the roads is driving with the proper licence. In such a case as Mr Bullingham’s, where there was some discrepancy over licences, it was vital a full investigation was carried out.

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