The DVLA's new computerised system which renders the traditional driving license counterpart obsolete is causing havoc for drivers wanting to hire vehicles by continually crashing.

Under the new system, drivers wishing to hire cars must visit the DVLA website and input their driving license number and national insurance number. They are then given a unique code which they have 72 hours to supply to the hire company.

However on its first day of operation the website has continually crashed, leaving many drivers unable to hire cars.

One car hire firm in Bristol told the BBC staff were struggling to access the data of people wishing to hire and that at one point around 20 people were waiting.

Richard Stock from U-Drive told the BBC: "The DVLA system has fallen over a dozen times this morning. Another operator nearby had a queue of customers out of the door."

DVLA website crashes
Many drivers trying to access their details using the DVLA\'s new computerised system were confronted by this message DVLA

Oliver Morley, Chief Executive of DVLA, told the Mail Online: "We are currently experiencing exceptionally high demand for this service.

"We are aware some customers are experiencing issues with the website and we are working very hard to resolve this as quickly as possible. We are sorry for any inconvenience."

Drivers took to social media to express their anger at the change. Andrew Nicoll Tweeted: " The expected shambles on #DVLA website as paper licences abolished today - they never learn a single lesson."

Andrew Barnes Tweeted: "DVLAgovuk Poor start to the first day launch. The only results I get are errors from your site."

However not everyone had a poor experience. One driver, Parthi, wrote: "Just tried the #DVLA's @DVLAgovuk new 'view your DL info' section on their website. Worked very well. No problems at all."

Anyone wishing to hire a car overseas may face additional problems as foreign countries may not be aware of the new system in the UK. Additionally, some people may not remember or have access to their national insurance number when travelling abroad.

Theoretically, under the new system hire cars and employers will be able to instantly check a driver's record to see if they have any points on their license. The new system should also mean the green counterpart is obsolete, but the AA is advising drivers to hang onto them for now.

The AA's President Edmund King said: "The possibility of teething problems this summer is a concern. While most drivers will be happy to see the back of the counterpart, there is widespread confusion as to what they should now do to ensure they stay within the law and what documentation will be required at the rental check-in desk."