An investigation of 500 driving licences belonging to company motorists identified seven who should not have been driving, mainly because of speeding bans they had not notified their employers of for fear of losing their jobs.
The findings are likely to worry fleets which do not check licences to ensure they are valid – and especially those with hundreds of drivers of which a significant number could be disqualified.
Executives at the Licence Bureau made the discovery after checking licences that belonged to drivers at five different companies.
Director Malcolm Maycock said: ‘When we alerted the companies, they were rightly shocked. As far as they were concerned in every case the employees were OK to drive.’
He added: ‘Unfortunately most employers assume that if a member of staff or a new employee has a driving licence the individual can legally drive. That is not always the case. Driving licences of prospective employees should be checked against the DVLA database at the recruitment stage and a reporting system to check the licences of existing employees is essential.’
The company is the licence checking partner of fleet and leasing company ALD Automotive. A number of its customers have undergone checks, including European pharmaceutical group Recordati.
During checking it was revealed that one licence had been revoked by the DVLA before the employee, who was not aware it had happened, had joined the company.
Recordati general manager Martin Symons said: ‘This was a serious issue caused by a genuine misunderstanding prior to the individual joining the company.
‘The check revealed the problem and the individual’s licence has now been renewed. However, the issue was only identified by the process we went through as a responsible employer and this underlines the importance of all companies checking the driving licences of employees driving company cars.’
The Licence Bureau recommends follow-up checks are undertaken annually on staff who have less than four points on their licence, six-monthly for those with four to seven points and quarterly on staff with eight or more points.