Colin O'Keefe's blog: 19 September - Driver licence checking - what you need to know
19 September 2016
We're over a year on from the end of the paper counterpart of the driving licence and drivers and employers in the UK are still getting to grips with the system that replaced it.
This is old news for organisations with large fleets or where driving comprises a significant portion of work. But for places where people do drive, but it isn't the primary business or focus, the new system is not quite so well understood.
So what do you need to know? Well, under health and safety legislation employers have a responsibility to make sure their employees are qualified to drive whenever they drive on business - that means up-to-date licences, with no disqualifications. Failure to do so can result in financial penalties for the organisation if an employee is found driving for work without a valid licence.
For years, satisfying this requirement meant simply asking a staff member to produce their paper counterpart driving licence, which would have all the information required, and keeping a copy. But since the paper counterpart was scrapped in June 2015, the only way employers can check someone's eligibility to drive in the UK is via the DVLA, which requires their consent.
The problem with the old system - and part of the reason it was scrapped - is it left too much room for error and relied on individuals to keep them up to date with expiry dates, new points or unspent motoring convictions, which could stop them from driving.
The new system, Check Driving Licence, provides accurate, up-to-date information. It allows employers to access employees' driving records subject to the latter giving permission, but this can create an added admin burden requiring time, resources and additional costs that many businesses simply can't absorb.
But don't worry, help is at hand from specialist driver licence checking providers, who can make the process quick, simple and cost-effective, even for organisations with thousands of employees.
This can mean having a direct link to the DVLA, and providing a straightforward way to check licences on your behalf through e-consent processes and dashboards to review the status of licence checks, from whether consent has been secured, right through to results, which last for up to three years.
Colin O'Keefe is head of business development at First Travel Solutions