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ACFO members warned of foreign driver risk

Date: 14 December 2009   |   Author: Tom Webster

Left unchecked, foreign drivers are escaping being given penalty points for driving offences, licence checking expert Intelligent Data Systems has warned.

"In the case of EU and non-EU drivers, the driver can't be given endorsement points on their licence, although they can be banned," said IDS national sales manager Georgia Harbison, speaking at the recent ACFO midlands regional meeting.

"However, the licence can be registered with the DVLA via a D9 form that allows the points to be attached to a licence."

Holders of a valid EU licence are allowed to drive in the UK, but without a UK paper counterpart the drivers cannot get penalty points, although they can still be taken to court, and fined and banned from driving.

The D9 form enables the DVLA to record fines and penalty points, even though the driver keeps their national licence rather than having to transfer to a UK version. They must, though, change to a UK licence within a year of becoming a UK resident.

"It should be part of fleet policy that you should get someone to fill in a D9 form," Harbison told the Midlands ACFO group. "If you are checking the validity of UK drivers you should do it for everyone."

Although drivers may be reluctant to sign up to something that allows records to be kept of their wrongdoings, she said that it holds benefits for them too.

"The D9 form means the driver will get lower fines for offences such as speeding - the usual £60 rather than several hundred pounds - and there is less likelihood of them going to jail," she said.

Harbison also pointed out the dangers of not checking licences thoroughly. Changes to the Health and Safety Act brought in on earlier this year meant that the employee responsible for checking a licence could be punished if a driver has an accident in a vehicle their licence doesn't permit them to drive.

While the Corporate Manslaughter Act punishes company directors, the Health and Safety Act could result in a jail term not exceeding two years for fleet managers that allow staff into vehicles they aren't allowed to drive.