What information does the DVLA hold about me?

The DVLA is a large government body with responsibility for keeping Britain’s motorists moving safely and legally. It has a huge role to play in many areas of motoring life including issuing licences and registering cars.

But in order to fulfil that role, the DVLA has to capture and store lots of data. But what information does the DVLA hold about you? How does the organisation use it? And how could that data affect your life beyond motoring? Read our quick guide to find out more.

If you have a driving conviction, then you might be worried about getting back on the road. The ability to drive is often taken for granted until we lose the right to do so. If you’re looking for insurance for convicted drivers then call the helpful team at Insurance Factory today. We’ll do our best to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

What is the DVLA?

In simple terms, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is the government agency responsible for keeping a record of all drivers and vehicles on UK roads. It’s also responsible for collecting around £6 billion a year in vehicle excise duty.

As you can imagine, holding more than 49 million driver records and more than 40 million vehicle records means the DVLA database is vast. While managing it is a massive operation, ensuring the security of your personal information is a vital part of the DVLA’s responsibilities.
A view looking at the back of a man driving a car

What information does the DVLA hold about me?

To carry out its many functions, the DVLA has created two separate registers of information – one for drivers and one for vehicles.

The driver register contains every driver’s name, address, date of birth, photograph, entitlements to drive, penalty points (endorsements) and disqualifications, convictions and conviction dates, and relevant medical information.

From epilepsy and diabetes to heart conditions and visual impairments, there are over 200 health conditions on the list of those that need to be disclosed to the DVLA. If you’re wondering what health conditions can affect your driving, Insurance Factory has a handy online guide to help you out.

In terms of convictions for motoring offences, the length of time they remain on your driver record in the register is dictated by road traffic legislation. Depending on the offence this will generally be either four or eleven years.

This is entirely separate to the time it takes for motoring convictions to become spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. For more information about the difference between spent and unspent convictions see our helpful guide.

Often drivers will be asked by third parties, such as potential employers, car hire firms or insurance companies, to share their driving record. This is where the DVLA Shared Driving Licence Service comes in handy.

You can use this helpful service to perform several important functions:
  • View your driving record. For example, to find out which types of vehicles you’re entitled to drive.
  • Check any penalty points or disqualifications you have.
  • Create a licence ‘check code’ to share your driving record with someone else. For example, an employer or car hire company.

This check code will be valid for 21 days and you can have up to 15 active check codes at any one time.
To get one you’ll need:
  • Your driving licence number
  • Your National Insurance number
  • The postcode on your driving licence

If you have motoring convictions still on your driver record (but which are spent convictions) then this service is invaluable. It means you can provide the employer or car hire company with a check code to enable them to view your driving record. Fortunately, under the rehabilitation of offenders legislation any spent convictions will be removed from this view.

Your only other alternative would be to print out a copy of your driving record and give it to them. However, this may well include the spent convictions.

Apart from the information contained in your driver record, the DVLA also holds an extensive vehicle register. This register is used to identify any vehicle on public roads, help with law enforcement, collect vehicle tax and improve road safety.

It contains a great deal of information about each motor vehicle. This includes the registration number, vehicle identification number, make and model, as well as the vehicle’s tax status. It also includes the registered keeper’s name and address, and when the vehicle was acquired or disposed of.
A young driver sitting in a car holding her driving license up

Who is this information shared with?

Under data protection laws, the DVLA has to protect the privacy of individual motorists whose information is held on either register.

However, there are many times where it’s lawful for the DVLA to share your data. Individuals and organisations that the DVLA can share your information with include:
  • Current and prospective employers
  • Other government departments
  • Suppliers
  • Debt collection, tracing, and ID verification agencies
  • Financial organisations
  • Vehicle leasing and rental companies
  • Police and enforcement bodies
  • Prosecution authorities
  • Courts, tribunals and parties to legal proceedings
  • Industry regulators within UK and Europe
  • Local government
  • Someone making a legitimate query or complaint
  • Survey and research organisations
  • Foreign authorities in accordance with international legislation or agreements
As you can see there are many circumstances where your information can be shared. Knowing when this is likely to happen and what is likely to be disclosed is particularly important for convicted drivers. If you don’t know, then this could cause serious problems as you might:
  • Provide more information than third parties are entitled to and risk being unfairly discriminated against.
  • Fail to disclose something which you are legally required to disclose. This could result in job loss, a job offer being revoked or an insurance policy becoming invalid.
With Insurance Factory there’s no reason to worry – convicted driver insurance is something we specialise in.

How to find out what information DVLA holds about you

It’s always good to know what information the DVLA holds about you, so you’re aware of what could be shared with third parties. Doing so is fairly simple. Just make a so-called ‘subject access request’.

To do this, write to the DVLA at:
Subject Access Request (SAR) Enquiries, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BX.
Or via email to: SubjectAccess.Requests@dvla.gov.uk

You’ll need to provide information to prove your identity and help them find all the information they hold on you.

If you’re looking for information from your driver record then the easiest way is to use the DVLA’s online service. If that’s not possible, then you can also write to the DVLA providing your full name, current postal address, and your driving licence number (or date of birth if you don’t have this).

If you’re looking for information about your current vehicle or a vehicle that used to be registered in your name, you’ll need to provide your full name, current address and the address on your V5C registration certificate (if it’s different), and the registration numbers of the vehicles you’re inquiring about.

There’s no fee for making a subject access request and the DVLA usually responds within one month of receiving it. But if a request is particularly complex then the DVLA will usually write to tell you why there is a delay and when you can expect to hear from them.

Getting back on the road after a driving conviction can feel like a huge task. However, Insurance Factory will never judge you for past mistakes – we’ll treat you as an individual, and arrange competitive convicted driver insurance just right for you.
A young driver sitting in a car holding her car keys up

Other information the DVLA holds

There’s plenty of other information you could also find out from the DVLA. For example, you might want to find out who the current and/or previous registered keepers of the vehicle were. To do this, you’ll need to write to the DVLA.

Be aware that in order to get access to the owner's history, you’ll need to have a ‘reasonable cause’ for why you want this information. The government website gives several examples of acceptable ones. These include:
  • Finding out who’s responsible for an accident.
  • Tracing the owner of an abandoned vehicle or one that’s been parked on private land.
  • Tracing people responsible for driving off without paying for goods and services.

You’ll need to fill out a form, called a V888 form and submit it by post.

Another useful thing to request is a check of a car’s MOT history. For example, you can find out if a vehicle you’re looking to buy has passed or failed a recent MOT, its mileage, the test location, any parts failures and issues, and when the vehicle’s next MOT is due.

Get a quote for convicted driver insurance from Insurance Factory

If you’ve been convicted of a driving offence, it can be difficult to find cover to get you back on the road. At Insurance Factory, we search a panel of insurers to find you the most suitable convicted driver insurance policies on the market.

Call today and get a quick quote for convicted driver insurance and see how much you could save.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.