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Colin O'Keefe's blog: 13 October - Licensed to drive?

Date: 13 October 2016

These days companies are required to have policies and risk assessments in place for pretty much everything - from heavy lifting to the Christmas party.

Larger businesses are usually hot on having written documents, policies and procedures for every scenario. Considering their size and scale, that's unsurprising, but this doesn't mean it's not possible for small organisations to be aware of risks to the same extent and have suitable means of managing them.

To manage a risk, you have to be both aware of it and regularly review it. Businesses need to understand their obligations and document how they meet those requirements. What will you do? How often? Why? Who? In the event of an incident, proof of these procedures could be required by insurance companies, regulators or even the police.

Yet despite this, I'm still surprised to hear in conversation at events that some employers aren't regularly checking employees' driving licences to make sure they are legally entitled to drive. Why? Surely it is just another form of risk assessment?

This is pretty startling when you consider that employers have a legal duty to manage the risks involved while employees are driving on business, whether they're using a company vehicle or their own. Add to the mix the continued rise in the number of insurance scams and you've got a potentially serious and expensive problem on your hands.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau estimates that 'crash for cash' scams cost the UK £340m every year. And who ends up paying for it? You guessed it - the honest motorists and businesses who pay their premiums.

If you're not routinely checking licences, how do you know if an employee is still legally qualified to drive or has any unspent driving convictions or penalties? Checking allows you to manage your drivers so you don't leave yourself exposed to a driver on a ban from collecting more points, or worse, being involved in an incident.

Although it can create an added administrative burden, it's something you have a responsibility to do. You can always enlist help from specialist driver licence checking agents, who can make the process quick, simple and cost-effective.

Managing risk may seem laborious and almost inevitably involves incurring a small cost, but it's necessary to protect your employees, company and the general public.

Colin O'Keefe is head of business development at First Travel Solutions