Is your licence out of date?PA

Up to one million motorists could be driving around illegally – because they are unaware their photocard driving licence is out of date.

Many drivers do not realise that the new-style driving licences have a 10-year life, after which time they need to be renewed and updated with a fresh picture.

The first of these licences were issued in 1998 – meaning hundreds of thousands are going out of date every year.

The AA told AOL Cars that although these drivers still have entitlement to drive, they are committing an administrative offence which could land them with a £1,000 fine.

Worse still, driving lawyer Derek Millard Smith added that many motorists' insurance policies could also be invalid because of the out-of-date licences too.

"Check your driving licence photocard expiry date, they're not for life and must be renewed every 10 years. Failure equals no licence and no insurance offences," tweeted the lawyer.

A spokesman for The AA explained that the insurance risk wasn't a cut and dry case though.

"The issue of insurance is a tricky one, but it's worth motorists checking with their cover providers to see if having an out-of-date licence affects their cover," said Paul Watters, head of public affairs for The AA.

"These drivers will still be committing an offence that could land them with a £1,000 fine though, so it's worth checking if your licence is out of date.

"Up to one million of the photocard licences are due for renewal this year – so our advice would be to check the date and get it renewed in good time."

So how do you know if yours is out of date? Well, grab your licence and check the date printed as point 4b on the front of the card. This date is when your licence is due for renewal.

"The '4b' renewal date is generally 10 years after the date the licence was last issued with a new photograph, but for drivers nearing or over 70 years of age, or with medical restrictions, it is the date at which entitlement to drive ends," added Watters. "If the date has passed, or is getting close, you will need to act and renew the photo."

Drivers are sent a reminder when that date is approaching by the DVLA, however Watters said many didn't take the letters seriously or realised the consequences if they failed to act.

You can easily renew your photocard licence at the Post Office. The service checks everything has been done correctly and costs £4.50, plus the £20 renewal fee for the DVLA.