Fleet managers have been advised to introduce rigorous driving licence checks after it emerged that hundreds of fraudsters are producing high quality fakes.
The fake licences, which can cost as little as £350 over the internet, are indistinguishable from the genuine documents.
“The fleet industry needs to be aware that these websites exist,” said DCI Paul Lambotte, head of the Police National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service.
He said fleets must thoroughly follow up on all licence documents, viewing both the paper and plastic counterparts and checking details with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
DCI Lambotte warned that companies could find themselves under investigation for lax licence checking.
“It is a crime for someone to use fake documents and companies could be considered to be aiding and abetting an offence or even causing one,” he said.
“Companies must follow up on the information given by drivers and prove that they have taken all reasonable steps to check details.”
DCI Lambotte’s warning was echoed by the DVLA, which said that internet-sourced fakes were proving difficult to combat.
“If fleet managers have any concerns over the authenticity of a driving licence, then best practise is to contact DVLA to confirm entitlement,” a spokesman said.
Saul Jeavons, director of road safety consultancy The Transafe Network, emphasised that well-produced fakes were “impossible to spot” and that fleet managers must run official checks.
“If costs prohibit checking all drivers, then get all drivers to sign a mandate and check a random percentage of them each year, plus any you are suspicious of and anyone with lots of points already.”
The police are now targeting online sellers of fake licences under the Road Traffic Act.