More than 900,000 drivers are at risk of a £1,000 fine after they fail to renew their photocard licences which expired in the past year, an investigation has found.

It comes after a Freedom of Information request was made by the PA news agency, allowing them to see the figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The agency found that 926,000 drivers held cards on September 3 which became out of date in the 12 months to the end of August, meaning it represents 2% of all drivers. 

A small proportion of the 926,000 is likely to have stopped driving without notifying the DVLA.

The investigation also found that 2.5 million drivers were likely to have renewed their photocard after it expired or within 56 days of the expiry date in the past year. 

Photocards must be renewed every 10 years to ensure the image is a true likeness of the driver, with expiry dates typically displayed in section 4b on the front of cards. 

If a driver fails to return an expired licence to the DVLA, it is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and can be punished with a fine of up to £1,000.

With the DVLA sharing, they write to people 56 days before their licence ends to remind them to renew. 

However many drivers miss the letters as they do not update the agency when their address changes.

Plus, if a person renews late, but still renews they will not be met with a fine.

Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation said: “There are good reasons to keep licences up to date, beyond the basic legal requirement."

Adding: "Renewal also provides an opportunity for people to assess whether they are still fit to drive, and we think there is an argument for linking a compulsory eye test to the process to make sure we all remain safe on the road, though Government should help keep costs as low as possible for motorists."

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.

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