Fleet News

Licence plans may hinder fleet checks

COMPANIES could be denied access to their employees' driving records under proposed changes being made to licences.

A consultation launched by the DVLA into the counterpart to the photocard driving licence has now ended and officials are currently sifting through responses.

The counterpart is issued along with the card and included on it are any endorsements if the driver has a conviction.

But the DVLA says many people find the counterpart too cumbersome and the fact that there are two separate items, the counterpart and the licence, of different shapes and sizes, outdated.

The consultation offered other alternatives, including an electronic version which those with a 'legitimate need to do so' can access with the driver's consent.

These would include vehicle hire companies and 'organisations whose employees are required to drive as part of their work', the DVLA suggested.

But warnings have been sounded that changes could make it difficult for companies to check on employees' previous driving convictions. Executives at fleet management company Interleasing are calling for the new system to make it easier for businesses to check drivers' records.

Diarmuid Fahy, accident services manager at the company, said: 'Every business should be checking employees' driving licences if they require them to drive for work – and that's not just company car drivers but people driving their own cars as well.

'But clearly this isn't working at the moment, as many fleets aren't carrying out these essential risk management checks. The DVLA needs to consider how they can help this process if they decide to change the system.

'The electronic checking facility could be a good timesaving resource, rather than having to chase drivers for their paper licences – but it depends how much paperwork would have to be completed just to gain access to this system. Also access must be provided to all businesses and this does obviously throw up data protection issues.' The DVLA said it will issue details of the responses it has received once they have been collated.

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