REVEALED: Clumsy British Drivers Spend up to £55.4k Everyday Replacing Lost Licences

Losing your driving licence is easy to do. Whether it’s on a wild night out or in the wallet you left on the bus. We’ve all been there.

But just how much money are British drivers forking out to the DVLA to replace their lost licences? 

The team at Lease Fetcher were very curious to find out.

We submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the DVLA to find out exactly how many drivers lost their licences between 2018 - 2021, and what the resulting spend amounted to. 

The results were staggering!

The FOI request also included:

  • The total number of fake driving licences submitted to the DVLA (2020 - 2021).
  • The total number of cases where members of the public have contacted the DVLA about correspondence, fines or penalties they have received from third parties about the use of vehicles which they do not recognise or take responsibility for (2018 - 2021).

Have you ever had to replace your lost driving licence? If so, then read on to see what you’ve contributed to!

Twenty’s Plenty: British drivers splashed out £70 Million replacing their lost licences between 2018-2021

The DVLA earns millions of pounds every year, and tens of thousands of pounds every day, but how much of this income is a direct result of replacing your lost licence? 

The FOI request revealed that a whopping total of 3,501,972 licences were replaced between 2018 - 2021.

The standard fee to replace a lost licence is £20, meaning British drivers spent just over £70 million during the 4-year period. 

£70,039,440 to be exact.

Break that £70 million down and the DVLA pulled in an average of £17.5 million every year between 2018-2021.

Quite remarkably, this amounts to British drivers spending an average of £48k every day which is equivalent to one lost licence being replaced every minute. 

2019 was the costliest year, with drivers spending an average of £55.4k every day on licence replacements.

YearTotal Number of Lost Licences Per YearTotal Spend on Lost Licences Per Year (£)
4-Year Total3,501,972£70,039,440
4-Year Average875,493£17,509,860

DVLA rakes in more money everyday from replacement licences alone than a nurse makes in a year

With the cost of living consistently rising and a strong argument for increasing the minimum living wage, we took a look into what the DVLA earns from lost licences compared to what some of our key workers earn.

Pulling in an average of £2.4k per hour on replacement licences means that the DVLA earns £1,000 more per hour than a newly qualified NHS nurse earns in a month. 

Let that sink in.

This also means that, to earn as much as the DVLA does in an hour, a supermarket worker who earns the minimum living wage (£9.50/hour) would have to work 253 hours across 4 weeks, which is 9 hours every single day.

Spend/Year Avg Spend/Week Avg Spend/Day Avg Bought/Hour AvgBought/Minute Avg

Cases of fraudulent driving licences are on the up

The FOI request also disclosed that, although there may be some British drivers who can’t keep a hold of their licence, there are also some who can’t wait to get their hands on one! 

In 2021 there were 386 identified cases of fake/forged driving licences submitted to the DVLA. 

This is a fairly significant 15% increase from the previous year, where 335 cases were identified during application processing.

Thousands of British drivers are falsely accused of offences every year

Amidst our research, we also discovered that it's not just drivers who appear to be careless.

The DVLA revealed that each year since 2018, an average of 2,492 fraudulent offence reports were made against drivers from third parties about vehicles they don’t recognise or take responsibility for.

YearNumber of CasesAverage Cases / dayAverage Cases / week

Are the DVLA putting our money to good use?

With one licence replaced every minute, £48k spent every day, and £17.5 million spent every year, it seems that the DVLA relies on the clumsiness of drivers to fill their pockets. 

But where is that money actually going? 

Well, according to previous news, it’s certainly not going into efforts to improve the organisation’s efficiency.

For years, the efficiency of the DVLA has been a topic under intense scrutiny. Whether it’s dealing with a backlog of driving tests, slow driving licence applications, or employees boasting about watching Netflix, the organisation is never far from the media spotlight.

This lack of efficiency has led to recent rumours that a privatised DVLA is potentially on the cards. 

But what will this mean for British drivers? We’ll just have to wait and see.


We submitted an FOI request to the DVLA asking for replacement driving licence data between 2018-2021.