The paper counterpart of the driving licence has been abolished. Here is what you need to know about the change.

What exactly has happened?

The paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence has now been scrapped. The counterpart includes information on a driver's penalty points along with details of what vehicles they can drive.

What has replaced it?

Drivers will be able to view their licence information online and generate a check code to share details with third parties by logging on to www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence.

The check code can be shared with an employer or a car hire company. It allows someone to see what vehicles you can drive, any penalty points or disqualifications, your name and the last eight characters of your driving licence number.

Why has the change been introduced?

It is all part of the Government's drive to reduce unnecessary red tape.

Last year the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) had to replace around 445,000 counterparts because drivers had lost them, for which they were charged £20 each to cover the cost.

Why are motoring groups so anxious about the change?

They think car hire companies, particularly those abroad, who want to check a driver's record will be unaware of the change.

Not all drivers need to show details of their driving record when renting vehicles. But an AA/Populus survey showed that more than a third of drivers who have hired a car abroad in the past five years have been asked to show their paper counterpart.

A survey from money.co.uk also showed that nearly three quarters of drivers were unaware of the need to produce a code when renting vehicles.

What does the DVLA say about all this?

They think car rental companies will be well aware of the change and they advise drivers to check with their hire company about what documents and information they require.

Should people keep the old paper counterpart?

The DVLA says no, but the AA says it is best to hold on to it and take it abroad as a "belt and braces" measure.

How many people are affected by the change?

There are 46.3 million driving licence holders in Britain of whom 37.7 million have a photocard driving licence. A total of 8.7 million have an old-style paper licence issued before 1998, which remain valid.