Learning Zone

Licence checking advice

By Sarah Wilkinson
22 January 2021

Making sure your employees’ driving licences are valid is essential – here’s seven things we think you should know…

1. Driving without a licence is illegal

First things first, it is illegal to drive any motorised vehicle on the road without a valid drivers licence, so businesses MUST ensure that their drivers are legally eligible to drive the class of vehicle they are operating.

It is an employer’s duty to check the validity and status of any driver’s licence at the point of recruitment and throughout employment, not to mention before authorising that person to drive on behalf of the business!

According to a survey conducted by CLM – the largest professional association in the insurance industry – 16% of firms fail to perform and driver licence checks at all, which is an incredibly high figure!


2. Regular employee drivers licence checks are vital

Typically, driver checks should be carried out at least once a year for all drivers who hold a clean licence, however, there are a number of other factors that should be considered during the decision-making process. These include:

  • Annual mileage
  • Accident rate
  • Penalty points
  • Endorsements accumulated
  • A driver’s date of birth

According to research conducted by RAC Insurance, almost a fifth of drivers (18%) would not inform their insurer if they picked up penalty points, and only 13% of those questioned would tell their employer.

With that in mind, taking into consideration all above factors will allow a relevant frequency to be allocated to potential risk, and the use of Driver Licence Checking software can simplify this process, allowing organisations to define multiple parameters to build rules for checking frequencies.


3. Businesses can conduct one-off checks for free

The DVLA provide a ‘one time’ web check service for businesses and organisations called ‘Share Driving Licence’, however, this requires both the driver and employer to log-in each time a check is performed – now imagine you have a few hundred drivers, exhausting right?

Alternatively, employers can:

  • Conduct a check by telephone – but they will need to ask the driver to call the DVLA and leave permission
  • Request a check by post – but both driver and employer will need to fill in a form and provide a payment of £5

Still frantically trying to catch your breath? I don’t blame you!

These manual checks are not only time-consuming and resource-intensive, but also a serious compliance risk should drivers fail to declare points or bans before checks. If drivers are then involved in a road traffic accident, the business will be liable for any financial or legal repercussions including hefty fines, court appearances, or even prison sentences!

Automating this process with license checking software eliminates the risk, cost and time, and allows you to carry out multiple checks – for hundreds of drivers – without any administrative burdens!


4. There are data protection laws – respect them

Act smart, protect yourself and your drivers…

Data Protection Laws do exactly what they say on the tin. They protect you. You the driver, and you the employer. Driving licence data is personal to the individual in question and, as such, access to and use of this data is clearly defined by the Data Protection Act 1998.

It’s imperative that employers receive informed consent from the driver in question prior to access, and – equally so – that they record this consent.

Failure to ask permission may result in a hefty fine, and failure to record consent could lead to a lack of defense if a driver is to later report their employer.


5. Licence data can shape a risk strategy

Accidents cost fleets millions of pounds annually – they can cause injuries and fatalities, and can do great harm to a company’s reputation. For this reason, it is crucial to have a policy in place to manage risk.

Data-led risk profiling can offer great value in helping reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring and can also help to manage the aftermath and keep costs down when incidents to take place – but it’s vital that profiles can be quickly built and easily measured.

When compiling a risk strategy, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Drivers – which individuals present the highest risk?
  • Experience – how long have they been driving for, and what type of terrains are they used to?
  • Accident rate – have they had many road accidents? If yes, are there any emerging patterns?
  • Training – what training has each individual driver received, if any? Does they need training?
  • Mileage – does the driver embark on long or short haul journeys?
  • Licence history – have the DVLA flagged any other issues?

This list is not exhaustive, and there are many other factors to consider when creating driver profiles and allocating risk scores.

Once complete, driver scores can be used to select ‘high risk’ drivers, in turn placing them onto appropriate courses or initiating disciplinary procedures for those who don’t show improvement.


6. A robust system can be a legal defence

Did you know that…

  • A company that fails to complete the necessary checks and lets a employee drive on behalf of the business without a valid licence can be fined up to £1,000
  • Under the Health & Safety Work Act 1974, employers can be prosecuted for this offence

Another valuable (opposed to costly!) reason to invest in Driver Licence Checking software, don’t you think?


7. How can you protect your business?

By conducting driver licence checks, companies are able to protect themselves – and their drivers – from a number of business and life-changing consequences.

Driving without the correct licence is an illegal offense, so carrying out regular driver checks is crucial. One-off checks can be conducted, however, these manual checks are time-consuming a resource-intensive, so automated processes are preferential. The process can be simplified by introducing Driver Licence Checking software into your processes.

There are several ways of conducting the necessary checks, however, in order to avoid tedious, drawn-out processes, companies will benefit from investing in automated checking tools, which not only remove error-prone manual processes but also ensure that the required checks are conducted in a comprehensive and timely manner.

Ultimately, the data that is produced from driver licence checks can shape a company’s risk strategy and, in turn, a robust system can be a legal defence.

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