Computer Says No

For some reason (and no doubt thought to be a very good reason by the genius who thought up the scheme) the DVLA, the UK driving licence authority, has abolished the paper counterpart driving licence and replaced it with a website. When you hire a car you will need to show the computerised record of any endorsements (convictions) affecting your driving licence.

It’s very easy to view and share your driving record. Just go to and search for ‘view driving licence’,”

said Oliver Morley, the DVLA’s chief executive.

Either Mr Morley hasn’t tried using the website or his understanding of the word “easy” is very different from that of everyone else in the country.. He has not, I imagine, tried using it only to find the website constantly crashing. Many people had this experience yesterday when the new system was launched.

If Mr Morley had tried it he might find that the advice he should give is more along the lines of

 “It’s quite difficult to view and share your driving record. The government website simply cannot handle the traffic and frequently crashes. Allow a few hours to access it. When you hire a car expect great delays and complications. Do not bother trying to hire a car in places where there is no internet access because unless you have gone through a complicated series of hoops within the past 30 days.”

Long queues of people at car hire desks waited while the car hire companies tried to find out what the computer said. Waiting for the computer to speak is more tiresome than presenting a piece of paper, regardless of what Mr Oliver “Pangloss” Morley might say. which was previously held on paper. The computer does not like being poked about by strangers.


Computers are useful and well designed computerised databases are convenient but “easy” when describing to any computerised system operated by the government is never an apt adjective.

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