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UK driving license mess in Poland


booger
25 Jul 2014 #31
a bit late but if the photocard has expired the paper counter part is still valid to exchange for a polish licence
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
25 Jul 2014 #32
LOL - and double LOL - and then some.

If anybody seriously thinks that a Brit - who has learnt to drive properly, in the number one country in Europe for diving - or Freudian slip, I meant to say driving - and can prove the same by proffering a UK licence, is going to give it up for an inferior Polish one - which suggests to the car rental agency that the user has learnt to drive from a Polish instructor... then they really are having a laugh! :)

Never in a month of Sundays would I hand in my UK licence (no photo) for a poxy Polish one.
Roger5 1 | 1,458
25 Jul 2014 #33
a poxy Polish one

I what way is a UK licence superior to a Polish one?

an inferior Polish one - which suggests to the car rental agency that the user has learnt to drive from a Polish instructor

You can either drive well enough to pass the test or you can't. Ultimately the instructor is only there to get you through the first few lessons and to comply with the law.

I've never heard of a rental firm refusing to rent a car to a Polish DL holder.
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
25 Jul 2014 #34
I what way is a UK licence superior to a Polish one?

Sorry Roger - Poles do brilliant soups, vodka and breed fine fillies - but no way am I am going to be connected with a Polish licence or to Polish drivers by association. I earnt my UK licence and wouldn't swap it for a document which I deem to be inferior. Plenty here feel the same - I believe Delph and others had the same view.

I hold the establishment of Polish driving in contempt and always will.

I stand by my opinion - but thanks for your politically correct view :)

I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that the law is that we should have a new driving license issued by Poland.

Happy to correect you OP - If you have been here a stipulated period of time (settled) then that is the "law".

But, I have been here 22 years on a Uk licence - never a problem - paid OC - even claimed for a couple of bashes,

No way can they ( the licensing authority or the psy) prove whether I am domiciled here or trot off to Blighty on a regular basis.

The other way around would be a problem - as in the UK the driver is insured - here the car is insured - therein lies the difference.

Sorry OP - read the whole Fred now - deffo number 5. Man up and grow some. :)
FATMAN
25 Jul 2014 #35
No way can they ( the licensing authority or the psy) prove whether I am domiciled here or trot off to Blighty on a regular basis.

Yes they can but that's not the point,you are still breaking the law.
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
25 Jul 2014 #36
I don't think so Fatman (great name BTW - I was thinking of ways to lose the tag). Please quote ref to this law. Even if there were such, it's unenforceable and not adhered to by insurance companies.
Harry
26 Jul 2014 #37
No, Fatman, he isn't. Ask one of your teachers to explain the basic concept of EU law.

And do feel very free to ask me to link to EU regs which prove you're wrong.
FATMAN
26 Jul 2014 #38
And do feel very free to ask me to link to EU regs which prove you're wrong.

Go ahead,post the link.

I earnt my UK licence and wouldn't swap it for a document which I deem to be inferior.

What makes Polish DL inferior to the UK one?Is it its Polishness?My understanding is that they both same class and both allow you to drive same class of vehicles.Let me explain to you concept of superiority/inferiority,BASIC Illinois DL is indeed inferior to BASIC Maryland DL because Illinois one is class D (allows you to drive motor vehicle with a GVWR of 16000 pounds or less) while Maryland one is class C (allows you to drive any non commercial combination of vehicles with 26001 or less GVW),therfore when exchanging my MD DL for IL one I was told that I have to pass additional exam (which I didn't have to pass in Maryland) if I want to keep my rights to drive vehicles heavier than 16000 lb. or a combination of vehicles.So again, what makes Polish DL inferior to the UK one?
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
26 Jul 2014 #39
So again, what makes Polish DL inferior to the UK one?

OK Fatman - so you really want to know why?

British people generally know the Highway code and don't pull out in front of oncoming traffic - just to cite one example. A Polish licence is tainted by association - that is - the holder may well have been taught by a Polish instructor.

Why are there so many bad Polish drivers? Because the instructors and the driving test itself are working in the wrong way.

Polish examples that spring to my ageing mind:

1. The cone "system" where the learner has to reverse along a circular line of cones. I've never had to do that on the road under real conditions - so why invent it? If it wasn't for real I would think the Monty Python team had been at work again.

2. Learners driving on busy roads in rush hour when they are absolute beginners. Driving experience needs to be graded to build correct driving procedure.

3. Instructors need to enforce the rule that you NEVER pull out from a standing start - causing other road users to brake hard. Never. In the UK driving test that is an instant fail.

4. Mirror-signal-manoevre. instructors here have no clue about that simple concept.

5. Could be wrong but the hand signal to turn is outlawed here. Why?

6.Flashing of lights to let others go is illegal. Why?

7.If you signal to change lane the driver behind deliberately speeds up to cut you out of the lane. Why?. Why didn't the instructor teach him good ettiquette?

8. Learn the Highway code. Right of way to pedestrians, then cyclists and pedestrians.

9. Drive according to the conditions and keep up with the traffic flow, and don't hop from lane to lane FFS!!!

10. Pedestrian crossings. foot on road - driver should stop, if safe to do so.

Polish drivers generally have NO clue - due solely to poor instruction, based on outmoded testing -which does not move with the times - and I for one don't want their licence, as I have a UK one - which engenders some confidence and respect - as I was properly tested and should know how to drive

Also road layouts are nonsense and I was talking to a group of Gdansk civil engineers who are actually proud that they installed 26 sets of traffic lights between Gdynia and Gdansk - without a roundabout or traffic contraflow in sight.

Idiots - so what hope is there?
MIPK - | 69
26 Jul 2014 #40
No, Fatman, he isn't.

Yes he is, as my understanding is that under UK law if you change address you have to advise DVLA of your new address (and you can't register an overseas address) and not doing so can result in a maximum 1000 pound fine, if caught in the UK, it can also invalidate your UK insurance if you have the wrong address on your licence.

But with regards to being in Poland, my understanding of EU law is "If you move to another country, you can drive there with your current licence as long as it remains valid" Having an incorrect address as far as I'm aware does not invalidate the licence or right to drive. So technically you can use your UK licence until it expires or until 2033 when everyone has to have the same licence type throughout Europe.

As an aside, I swapped mine to Polish on advice from my insurer here, and if i ever return to the UK I'll swap it back to a UK one, or a Scottish one if they get independence :P
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
26 Jul 2014 #41
As an aside, I swapped mine to Polish on advice from my insurer here, and if i ever return to the UK I'll swap it back to a UK one, or a Scottish one if they get independence :P

Of course your insurer would suggest you play the white man MIPK. But I suit myself and don't act according to the wishes of the person whose services I am using, the insurer. With PZU I have never had a problem, all legal and above board, and my licence runs out in 2027.

Will the Polish state agree to renew my licence for free til that date?

You are kidding right? Why would I want to throw money away? Can I just send you some instead of sending it to the Polish government - who only ever steals, through the good auspices of ZUS, and have never granted me a single zloty in grants for my businesses but took delight in harassing by repeated audit.

Next.
FATMAN
26 Jul 2014 #42
OK Fatman - so you really want to know why?

You have not convinced me.Let me ask you this: Is US (Maryland) DL superior or inferior to your UK DL (we will put aside the fact that your UK DL doesn't mean squat in the US).In order to receive DL in Maryland you don't have to take any driving course.You only have to pass written test which one can request in his/her native language (takes about 15 minutes) and execute few maneuvers on the course (you have to provide vehicle,it can be Fiat 126p as far as they are concerned as long as it is registered in MD and insured) right by licencing facility (another 15 min).After that you are fully licensed to sit behind a wheel of a vehicle with close to 13 TONS GVW or a combination of vehicles.Superior or inferior to your UK DL?
Roger5 1 | 1,458
26 Jul 2014 #43
(we will put aside the fact that your UK DL doesn't mean squat in the US).

Except that it can be legally used throughout the USA for up to a year. Apart from that, you are right.
Beeracuda
8 Dec 2015 #44
Hi all, I just found this thread as I'm facing a similar situation to the OP, except my photo part expires in a few weeks. Some interesting and useful comments, but I'm still weighing-up if I should do things 'by the book' (transfering to a Polish license) or apply to renew with my folks address. Even if the Polish authorities aren't fussed about the card part being out of date I'll need a valid EU license of one flavour or the other for when I visit the UK. I think I'll try calling DVLA and see what they say..

As a side-note *well said Dougpol* on the two related topics of driving standards and road layouts in Poland. Even some of the new road layouts seem like a conspiracy to make getting around more difficult and dangerous. Surely the Eu should be doing something useful and offering 'guidance' for how nations can help make their road layouts safer?? Like,its never a good idea to put a pedestrian crossing immediately after a blind 90 degree bend. And I don't know where to start on the lack of driving sense as there have been so many near-misses. A more creative example was the time we almost came bumper to bumper with someone zooming the wrong way around a roundabout - the only time that ever happened to me in the UK in 25 years of driving was following a Landrover in torrential rain around a roundabout when he dabbed his brakes on the turn and did a nice slow motion pirouette!
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
8 Dec 2015 #45
I replaced my UK paper licence with a Polish photocard licence.

My UK paper licence is valid til 2027. Now why on earth would anyone want to swap the real deal for a Polish photocard (which costs an admin fee I presume)?

And,as before, a UK licence proves you can actually drive. For at one time, anybody could get a Polish licence.
Allegedly...

One of my learners (female) here in Tr-City fluttered her......eyelashes, 6 or 7 years ago, after many Test setbacks (she had problems with the moronic cone game) and with a little financial inducement and a boy friend in the right place - hey presto!

I wouldn't want to swap my hard earned real licence for something the UK cops would view with suspicion and distaste.

Some interesting and useful comments, but I'm still weighing-up if I should do things 'by the book' (transfering to a Polish license) or apply to renew with my folks address

It's a total non-brainer Beeracuda. Your UK licence is what you earnt, by learning to drive the "right way" and not through the ridiculous and skewed Polish system (read up about the hilarious and subjective Test system here).

You deserve your UK licence. The Polish testing sytem is wholly inferior. Renew your UK licence. In event of accident when driving a hire car in the UK you are absolutely covered, in spite of what the earlier poster states as fact. Insurers talk some tosh and often spout ignorance to save themselves paperwork, and, depending on your tax status, the DVLC could not prove that you had not decided to return to the UK.

The UK licence all the way for me - no way would I want to be associated with the Polish department of transport in any shape or form - and I've lived here for 23 years (UK licence the whole time) NO problems - paid out in full by PZU on Comprehensive, and Third Party, on two occasions.
Atch 17 | 3,264
8 Dec 2015 #46
Your UK licence is what you earnt, by learning to drive the "right way"

Have to agree 100%. Poles can't drive and that's a fact. Now of course they're not all as bad as each other but in general the standard is extremely low. My Polish husband had his first driving lessons in Ireland (British style instruction, defensive driving etc). Then he had to come back to Poland and went for a few lessons. He was horrified. His instructor taught him to cross his hands on the wheel and scolded him for checking his mirrors! He was also reproached for reading the road ahead. Watch Polish drivers. They have no observation skills - and as a result they can't brake effectively. The bus and tram drivers are a great example. It always seems to be a surprise to them when they see a bus stop - 'oooh what's that? That wasn't there yesterday, or was it??'. Travelling on a bus in Warsaw is like being on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise during a Klingon attack, with passengers staggering and being flung from one side of the bus to the other, bouncing off seats and doors. I've watched the drivers of cars as they approach crossings ; they rarely glance in the direction of the pavement, they normally just stare straight ahead.

Anyway we returned to Ireland my husband had a few more lessons there and passed his test on the second attempt. He loves and cherishes his Irish licence!
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,781
8 Dec 2015 #47
I am afraid I have to agree. If I am driving and see Polish plates, I will hang right back, and on one occasion of being stuck behind a swaying Polish truck on a country lane, actually changed my route.

There have even been incidents of Polish drivers here in the UK going the wrong way down a motorway for a short cut home!!!
Beeracuda
8 Dec 2015 #48
Just a quick update after finally finding the right combination of options to get though to a real person at DVLA (I was expecting to then wait for 10 mins + but got instantly through to a friendly welsh advisor). Anyway, this is my understanding of the situation, so please don't sue me if it gets you into trouble!

I was just told to not do anything about the license renewal until/if I return to live in the UK. My UK license is still valid - in my case until 2041. Even though the photo card clearly says 'licence valid to Jan 2016' I was told in no uncertain terms that this doesn't change my entitlement to drive in the UK in any way. The requirement to renew your photo card part only seems to apply if you're UK resident.

So in theory I will still be entitled to hire a car in 10 years time with my current 2006 photo card license. Of course, what the hire car company will say when they see my 20 year old photo is another matter.. but then I would always have my UK passport for ID. So as photo cards are now the only valid UK license format in the UK (with the paper part being recently abolished) this is all I need to drive when I go back home to visit.

The question then becomes, what about the Polish Authorities. Say if I'm stopped on the road in Poland for some reason and they see the 'Jan 2016' Valid-to date on my card. I would insist that the DVLA consider my license as still valid, and then show them the date for 2041 on the back of the card, under column 11 across from the little car drawing... and keep my fingers crossed. In this situation, maybe it wouldn't hurt to always carry a copy of the paper part..

One final note - if I do get a Polish license, surely I can still keep my UK license? I wouldn't be surrendering my UK license to the Polish authorities in the process of getting a Polish one would I? I would have thought its just changing the 'packaging' for local consumption, if you like and I keep the UK one tucked away for when I go back to the UK.. or have I missed something fundamental?!

It's a total non-brainer Beeracuda. Your UK licence is what you earnt, by learning to drive the "right way" and not through the ridiculous and skewed Polish system (read up about the hilarious and subjective Test system here).

Thanks for the quick reply Doug, I certainly did earn it :-) 12 lessons when I was 18 with an-ex army sergeant, a brilliant teacher and the nicest bloke to learn to drive with. I passed first time and despite the best attempts of some drivers here I've never had anything worse than a scratched wing mirror..
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
8 Dec 2015 #49
One thing - if the photocard has expired, then it's not valid. It doesn't matter if you have the entitlement to drive until x date - the photocard itself must be valid. Ignore what the DVLA say, they're a bunch of useless clowns and know nothing.

In this situation, maybe it wouldn't hurt to always carry a copy of the paper part..

You'd be almost certainly done for driving without a licence.

One final note - if I do get a Polish license, surely I can still keep my UK license?

No, you exchange it for a Polish one and the GB one is posted back to Swansea by the Polish issuing office.

But what's wrong with exchanging it for a Polish licence anyway? An EU licence is an EU licence with exactly the same validity and so on.

By the way, there's no way a UK car hire firm is going to hire a car to you with an expired photocard.
Atch 17 | 3,264
8 Dec 2015 #50
There have even been incidents of Polish drivers here in the UK going the wrong way down a motorway for a short cut home!!!

Roz when in Poland have you seen them drive up on the pavement to overtake a traffic jam? I've seen it more than once and on one occasion I was a passenger in a taxi which did precisely that. Also in Warsaw once I saw a car get from one side of the road to the other by going across the pedestrian crossing!! I've also seen someone reverse into a lamp post when pulling out from a parking space because of course he was taught not to check his mirrors.
Beeracuda
8 Dec 2015 #51
One thing - if the photo card has expired, then it's not valid.

I suppose that's the crux of the matter. Its the photo card that has expired, not the license. But I can understand how this matters not one jot to the Polish authorities/hire company. They're going to want an up to date photo on whatever license I have (I wasn't worried at all about UK police, but was skeptical about the hire car situation, and Polish police are an unknown quantity)

On balance, to make life easier here, I'll probably apply for a Polish license and keep a scan of both parts for posterity. I guess its a case of in theory, you're ok, but in practice.. just change it or fudge it with the UK side.

ps: Thanks for the reply Delph, what you say does make sense. Even if I get a Polish license, its still a UK one in essence and I won't suddenly start driving like some of the locals! Plus, I won't have to worry about the 'on the spot' fine thing in the remote chance I do something daft.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
8 Dec 2015 #52
Unless you're a Polish citizen or permanent resident, you will still be fined on the spot - the possibility of "paying later" doesn't apply for temporary residents.
Beeracuda
8 Dec 2015 #53
Oh well.. better make sure I've always got some cash handy then!
dolnoslask
8 Dec 2015 #54
"still be fined on the spot"

If you don't have a registered address, you usually get away with a ticking off, I they mention a on the spot fine (and you speak some polish) say that you want to go to the police station to pay, they will ask why, just say that you want to be sure that the money ends up in the proper hands. all this is way too much hassle for them if you have committed a "minor" offence
Beeracuda - | 2
8 Dec 2015 #55
Sounds like good advice to ask to go to the Police Station to pay. My Wife who's Polish was saying she thought they were no longer allowed to collect fines on the street to help protect motorists from corruption.. but it seems this is more of a privilege that isn't extended to foreign nationals or those with a temporary residency permit. I can certainly understand tourists/lorry drivers etc being required to pay on the day, but if you can demonstrate you live in Poland by giving a registered address and valid PESEL number it seems a bit heavy handed. Fingers crossed I'll never have to worry about it though..
Dougpol1 32 | 3,274
8 Dec 2015 #56
But what's wrong with exchanging it for a Polish licence anyway?

LOL. I have explained why.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
8 Dec 2015 #57
Must admit, never really thought about it very much.

Interestingly, I notice Polish drivers do get much better as soon as they cross the border into Germany or the Czech Republic, myself included ;)
Steveramsfan 2 | 306
18 Dec 2015 #58
@ Dougpol

Have you checked about your paper licence recently?

The paper part of the photo licence is now obsolete, from July 2015.
dolnoslask
18 Dec 2015 #59
"The paper part of the photo licence is now obsolete" not if you have a licence prior to the photo card system.

Benefits are :

1 You don't need to renew the photo card, so no need to pay money every 10 years

2 When you hire a car you don't need a verification code from the DVLA.

Only problem is that if you change address you need to get a new photo card license, otherwise it is valid until you are 70 something
Harry
18 Dec 2015 #60
2 When you hire a car you don't need a verification code from the DVLA.

You do now (at least in the UK anyway).


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