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Licence leniency law change targets penalty points cheats

Date: 30 November 2010

The DVLA is looking to clamp down on driving licence cheats who take advantage of the agency's leniency regarding the time period allowed to hand over licences to have points added.

Before this month, those drivers given points for an offence, either a fixed penalty or through the courts, had up to 12 months to hand over their driving licence to the DVLA. This meant drivers could hold on to their licence for up to a year before it was officially revoked, and the driver could show a licence with fewer points.

A new interpretation of the law, by the DVLA, means drivers will now have 28 days to hand over their licence, before it is officially revoked.

The change has come about because, according to the DVLA, "last year, a significant number of drivers failed to return their licence".

ACFO, which earlier this year set out best practice for licence checking following a BusinessCar investigation, warned fleets of the implications of the new rules.

"As police officers have the right to seize vehicles driven by individuals whose licences have been revoked, there is an added risk to fleets where the failures of a driver could impact back on the business. Essentially, an unlicensed driver might be uninsured. Some police forces have demonstrated quite an appetite for crushing seized vehicles - so this is not an issue that should be ignored," said ACFO chairman Julie Jenner.

Jenner added: "We welcome the change - if people have broken the law, they should be dealt with quickly. It will make our roads a safer place."

The DVLA changes have lead to calls for licence checking to be carried out monthly.

Jason Francis, boss of fleet software firm Jaama, which also has a licence checking service, said: "The change in the 'concessionary period' should encourage all companies to increase the frequency of their driving licence checks or face the reality that they may have staff driving with revoked licences and therefore not entitled to take to the road.

"The likelihood is that with entitlement to drive now being withdrawn after just 28 days, many more drivers are likely to find themselves without a valid driving licence.

"Driver licence checking should be a vital component of every company's occupational road risk management policy. This change in DVLA procedures means that the only option to ensure compliance is

to ensure driving licence checks are undertaken every four weeks."