Gocompare.com The History Of Series
History of the Driving Licence
Karl Benz


The first driver's licence was
issued to Karl Benz from Germany.

Karl Benz, inventor of the modern automobile, had to receive written permission from the authorities to operate his car on public roads in 1888 after residents complained about the noise and smell of his Motorwagen. 


Henry Ford didn't have a driver's licence until he was 56.

First driving Licence


The introduction of the driving licence

The Motor Car Act 1903 introduced measures to help identify vehicles and their drivers. All motor vehicles were to be registered and had to display registration marks in a prominent position. Drivers needed to renew their licences annually.

5 Shillings
Five Shillings was the cost of a driving licence in 1903 which is equal to 25p today


The oldest driving licence holder in the UK is a 107-year-old woman.

Driving test

Legislation for compulsory testing was introduced on the 1 June, 1935.

To avoid a rush of candidates the test was initially voluntary. From this date, all drivers who started to drive on or after the 1 April, 1934 were required to pass the test.

Driving Test
The fee for the first driving test was 7/6d, equivalent to 37.5p today.


In 1935, the pass rate was 63%. The first person to pass was called Mr J Beene.

Driving in the World War
1939 The driving test was suspended during World War II

Driving tests were suspended on 2 September, 1939 for the duration of World War II. During the war, examiners were redeployed to traffic duties and supervision of fuel rationing.


Petrol was one of the many things rationed during World War II. Other items you might not have known about included rubber footwear, bicycles and typewriters.

Chart Chart


After four years and 950 written tests, 68-year-old South Korean Cha Sa-Soon finally managed to secure the 60 out of 100 points needed to pass her test. She had spent approximately £2,500 on application fees.


Photocard licence introduced

Photocard licences were introduced as a result of an EU directive requiring all member states to issue driving licences in a card format, containing the licence holder's image and signature.


In the UK, 69% of all males held a driving licence whereas only 29% of females had one.

In the UK, 80% of all males held a driving licence whereas only 66% of females had one.


Former Pope Benedict XVI has a pilot's licence and liked to fly from the Vatican to the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, but he does not have a driver's licence as he never learned to drive a car.


You don't need a driver's licence to compete in NASCAR

Kyle Busch, a NASCAR driver, had his licence suspended for going 128mph in a 45mph area. As a result, his driving privileges were suspended for 45 days and he received a $1,000 fine. Surprisingly, Busch was still allowed to compete in NASCAR as drivers are not technically required to have a licence for the competition.



A speeding Swedish driver is facing the world's biggest ever motoring fine of €650,000, around £538,000 - after being clocked at 180mph while driving through Switzerland.

K.I.T.T Autonomous Cars

You may call me K.I.T.T!

The first 'Driverless Licence' was issued in Nevada in May 2013. Driverless cars will soon be a reality on the roads of Nevada after the state approved America's first self-driven vehicle licence.


Recently released predictions suggest that autonomous cars will account for up to 75% of vehicles on the road by the year 2040.


Customers looking for car insurance may be asked for their driving licence number as part of a new scheme which aims to reduce fraud and provide more accurate quotes.

MyLicence Car Insurance

MyLicence How will it work?


The joint initiative between the DVLA, the Department of Transport and the insurance industry (ABI, MIB) will work by having drivers provide their driving licence number (DLN) when they apply for vehicle insurance.

DVLA database for MyLicence

An automatic check will then be made to the DVLA database, bringing up accurate information on licences.


What information will
the MyLicence scheme allow insurers to access?

Points on driving licence Type of licence Entitlement to drive

How will this affect you?

  • Save Money

    Customers will save an average of £15 on car insurance

  • Save Time

    Getting a quote will be quicker as insurers won't need to ask as many questions

  • Reduce Mistakes

    Reduces the likelihood of mistakes during application (accidental or deliberate), as currently one in five people under-declare their motoring convictions.