Millions of motorists are currently driving illegally and at risk of a £1,000 fine from the DVLA, new figures have shown.

It is illegal in the UK to get behind the wheel of vehicle without a valid photocard licence, which carries a driver’s personal details and must be renewed every ten years.

However, the latest figures from the DVLA show that more than 3.6 million motorists currently have a photocard which has expired.

Andrew Jervis, CEO of leading online mechanic marketplace ClickMechanic, said: “Holding a valid and in-date licence is a legal requirement to drive in the UK and helps protect the safety of all road users.

“Many drivers won’t be aware that their documentation has expired and it can be easy to miss an upcoming renewal date.

“However, the fact that there are millions of motorists in the country who do not hold a valid licence shows the scale of the problem is much higher than it should be.

“These figures act as an important reminder to ensure we keep our documentation up-to-date to avoid falling foul of the law and facing a £1,000 fine.”

After passing the practical test, drivers receive a photocard licence and a paper counterpart.

The photocard displays a photograph of the driver, as well as personal information such as their name, address and date of birth.

It is valid for ten years and must be renewed with an updated photograph to ensure it remains a realistic likeness.

This helps authorities crack down on impersonation, preventing drivers from taking to the roads who may not meet the required standard of theory knowledge and practical skills.

Failing to return an expired licence to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and can be punished with a fine of up to £1,000.

How to renew your driving licence

The DVLA advises people to renew on its official website as it is the quickest and cheapest method.

Applications cost £14 and are usually processed within five days.

Third party websites charge additional fees.

Postal renewals cost £17, while doing it at a Post Office has a £21.50 fee.

A DVLA spokeswoman said: “We encourage customers to use GOV.UK as applying online is the quickest and cheapest way to renew their photocard driving licence.

“If you stop driving altogether, you should inform DVLA and return your licence rather keeping it as a form of out of date photo ID.”

Mr Jervis added: “It’s quick and easy to renew photocards online, so there really is no excuse for anyone to be taking to the road with an expired licence.

“We all have our part to play in making sure our roads are safe for the benefit of all travellers.”