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Driver Licensing – Checking the validity of driver qualifications is a mandatory requirement on all operators’

Employers must regularly check the entitlement of their employees to drive vehicles on the public highway. This is both part of the overriding duty of care that everyone must consider when they carry out their day to day activities, as well as being one of the obligations of every competent and compliant employer and it should be an integral part of a company’s road risk management.

Irrespective as to whether you employ full-time; part-time; casual or agency employees, while they are assigned to any of your company vehicles they are your responsibility and you must be confident that you can show that you have done everything possible to ensure that they are safe and competent to work for your business. Furthermore, should any of your employees carry out duties on your behalf that involved using their own vehicle you must make sure they are suitably insured to do so.

It is totally incorrect to believe that an employer will not be held responsible if a casual or agency driver is found to be driving illegally, either by not holding the correct driving licence and other qualifications (i.e. a Driver Qualification Card – DQC) and/or not having taken the minimum required daily or weekly rest before being assigned to one of the operators’ vehicles. Procedures must be in place and must be followed to show that everything possible has been done to avoid non-compliance.

The Senior Traffic Commissioner has stated that she expects goods vehicle operators to check regular employees’ driving licences at least every six months and should an operator be approved through the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) they may be expected to carry out checks at least every three months, to comply with the terms laid down and expected at time of annual audit by that particular commercial accreditation system. Part-time; casual and agency drivers’ qualifications must be checked as often as required to ensure compliance. It’s up to the operator to decide how often this should be.

Driving licence update - All operator’s should know that the paper counterpart to the photo-card driving licence is no longer valid and is no longer issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This was abolished on 8th June 2015 and so alternative methods to ensure compliance should have been introduced since that date, if you are to be seen as competent to be an employer of drivers.

Paper driving licences - Anyone who still holds the old style paper driving licence, that would have been issued before 1998 (this is separate from the photo-card/counterpart driving licence), must still keep that driving licence and make it available, on request. This type of driving licence remains legal, although should the holder request an update (such as change of address) or it becomes due for renewal, it will be replaced by DVLA with a photo-card driving licence.

Penalty points (endorsements) are now recorded electronically and not printed or written on either a photo-card driving licence or an old-style paper driving licence.

So, if a driver commits an offence he will have to pay any applicable fine and submit his driving licence to the court, with the offence then being recorded and stored on the DVLA on-line driver record database.

Access to driving licence information – The only way an operator can ensure that they have a true record of their employees’ driving licence is to gain access to the DVLA on-line driver licence database and use the ‘share-my-driving-licence’ service, which requires the consent of each driver.

Confirming the driving licence record to an employer/operator - Any driver holding a driving licence issued by DVLA can provide their employer or prospective employer with free on-line access to their driving licence record.  A password/code is generated and this can then be given to the employer/prospective employer, who can then check the detail of the licence for the next 21 days. After 21 days the password/code expires.

If a driver refuses to provide access to the driving licence record to an employer this in effect makes it impossible for their employment to continue. If a prospective employee refuses to provide access to their driving licence record and driving is to be an integral part of their employment they cannot be offered the role available.

How employees’ or prospective employees’ can share their driving licence details – As mentioned above drivers’ can agree to generate a ‘check code’ to pass to the person or organisation that needs to view their driving licence details. Alternatively they can call DVLA on 0300 790 6801 and leave permission for their driving record to be checked verbally by a nominated person/organisation, or they can write and ask for details to be provided.

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If you need help, information or advice regarding your mandatory legal obligation to check and understand your drivers’ qualifications contact Truck UK on FREEPHONE 0800 644 87 87. We can provide you with a cost effective service that will ensure you are carrying out a satisfactory procedure.