Fleet News

More fleets to get in-house licences

TOUGH health and safety legislation will prompt a growth in the number of fleets issuing company drivers with in-house driving licences, it is claimed.

The prediction comes from Graham Hurdle, managing director of fleet risk management and driver training specialist Pro-Drive, in response to news that engineering supplier Barnes was issuing its own in-house licences to drivers.

Without the permit, effectively a secondary licence, no staff may drive the company's vehicles or use their own vehicles on business.

Hurdle said: 'HEMS, the London Air Ambulance, launched an in-house driving licence programme three years ago after we were asked to help them with managing occupational road risk and provide blue light instructor training.

'The outcome was that systems and procedures were implemented so that all drivers receive a four-day driving course and a day on navigation skills.'

Once trained, HEMs drivers are granted an internal driving licence, which is subject to a similar 12-point system as a UK licence.

But the in-house system is tougher, with points being deducted if drivers fail to carry out vehicle checks, misuse vehicles or drive in a manner not deemed acceptable by the organisation.

If a driver loses all 12 points, he or she is removed from the Air Ambulance Unit and returned to other duties.

Hurdle added: 'With the London Air Ambulance having such a high profile in the city, such stringent control is necessary and the programme has been a resounding success.

'For this reason, I can see this type of scheme becoming more popular within the public and private sectors as fleet operators continue to develop initiatives to protect themselves and their drivers.'

A spokesman for HEMS added: 'Three years ago, this was quite a ground-breaking move that we took with Pro-Drive but it has been an excellent method of setting our own very high standards for the safety of drivers, passengers and other road users.

'When responding to emergencies in such a densely populated area as London, individuals and their vehicles must be at the height of their performance and the additional discipline of an internal licence scheme not only sends an important message out to all drivers but also ensures we maintain incredibly high standards of road safety.'

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