The check covered more than 370 drivers, but had to be forced through with no support from senior management, even though it was a fundamental part of ensuring the company was meeting the basic standards of risk management.
Speaking at a meeting of the Association of Car Fleet Operators North East and Tyne Tees region, the fleet manager, who is not being named, said: ‘At first, there was 69% non-compliance, including all the main board directors.
‘There was no support from the top. I did not have the authority to take cars off people, but eventually I managed to check nearly everyone and their partners.’
Managers at the meeting agreed with a spokesman for Masterlease, which sponsored the meeting, who warned that licence checking was vital to weed out drivers who might try to use a company car without a driving licence.
One manager said: ‘Get the directors on your side and you will get drivers on your side.’
Another warned: ‘We had one driver who only provided his licence details at the last minute. By chance, we found out that the next week, he was in court to be sentenced for drink driving. He waited until the eleventh hour before providing his clean licence, knowing he might be banned for a year just a week later.
‘I only found out about the incident because a member of the public whose wall he smashed into sent me a picture of his car straddling it. What is amazing is that the insurance company and the police didn’t contact me to warn me that this was happening.’