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Do I Have to Produce My Driver's Licence?

For most of us, there is no way around it. If we drive a motor vehicle on a highway we must carry our driver's licence with us at all times and produce it on the demand of a police officer. We must also allow the officer to take it in hand and examine it. There is no 24 hour grace period to produce it at your convenience, contrary to what many people commonly think.

If the officer asks, we must also state our name and current address. A response of "It's printed right there on the licence" is not acceptable.

A driver's licence is important to an officer doing traffic enforcement. It properly identifies you, sets out what kind of vehicles you may operate and could include other restrictions and privileges. Being able to produce your licence when asked reduces the possibility that you are a prohibited or suspended driver.

Police officers are permitted to take photos of a driver as part of their investigational notes. I often did this when I stopped a driver who could not produce a licence. The photo sometimes turned out to be important later on to positively identify the driver for court purposes. It also resolved personation complaints when the driver knew they were not properly licensed and masqueraded as a friend or family member who did to avoid prosecution.

Legal purposes aside, carrying your driver's licence can assist medical treatment and notifying next of kin if you are killed or injured in a collision.

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