The survey, undertaken by Stafford-based driver training and risk management firm Pro-Drive, discovered that 59% of fleet operators did not know that any person passing their test after January 1, 1997, cannot drive vehicles over 3.5-tonnes, tow a trailer above 750kgs or drive a vehicle with more than eight passengers on the standard licence. Drivers who passed their test before that date can drive vehicles up to 7.5-tonnes, have no restrictions on towing weights and can transport up to 16 passengers.
Graham Hurdle, Pro-Drive's managing director, said: 'This is the most startling statistic I have ever seen. It means there could be people driving vehicles on company business without a valid licence, uninsured and under threat of a custodial sentence. This threat is not just to themselves but to their company directors as well, should injury occur from an accident.'
Pro-Drive polled 52 companies, operating more than 3,000 vehicles.