Fleet News

Five in every 1000 drivers do not hold valid licence

Driver licence

More than five in every 1,000 company car, van and truck drivers do not hold a valid licence to legally drive their company vehicle.

Licence Bureau analysed over  a quarter of a million licence checks it made during 2013 and has highlighted the top five reasons for business drivers failing initial licence checks and subsequent rechecks.

At the initial licence check stage Licence Bureau experienced the over 5 in 1,000 drive failure rate, with provisional licence holders in the top two positions causing fleets the biggest headaches. Provisional drivers cannot legally drive unaccompanied or on motorways so these drivers slipping through the net could cause major issues for fleets.

Drivers whose licences are revoked, expired licence holders and disqualified drivers made up the remainder of the licence failure list.

Licence Bureau’s recheck system notifies its customers of any further issues with employees, but its statistics reinforce the need for rechecking a driver’s licence regularly.

At the licence recheck stage, the potential rate of failure according to Licence Bureau’s statistics fall to just over two per thousand (2.05) and the reasons are very different from initial checks. Drivers with expired licences are top of the list followed by disqualified drivers.

Without a licence recheck both these issues would not have been picked up by the employer, potentially causing huge Duty of Care issues as those categories of driver aren’t insured in the event of an accident. The provisional licence issue disappears at the recheck stage as these drivers have been immediately dealt with after the initial check.

“The aim is to highlight the growing problem to companies of failing to audit employees’ current driving and vehicle documents,” said Malcolm Maycock, managing director of Licence Bureau.

“Our top five lists should help employees understand the issues and potential consequences for non compliance.

“Companies are often surprised at what notifications our systems generate at the recheck stage and how the status of both driver and licence can change in just a few months,” he added.

Top 5 driving licence check failures:


Initial licence check

Licence recheck


Provisional drivers (drivers)

Expired licence


Provisional drivers (nominated)




Revoked endorsement


Expired licence




Licence Surrendered

Rate of licence check failures per 1000 drivers




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  • Edward Handley - 19/03/2014 08:29

    The only surprising thing about these figures is that they are so low. Research done by the AA about 20 years ago concluded that 1 driver in 40 was not licensed and the problem has probably got worse since then. This suggests that business licence checking has improved and is working. Checking a driver's licence is only part of the solution - businesses also need to be very careful not to let employees drive vehicles they are not licensed for. The licence rules have changed dramatically since 1994 when the EC 2nd Directive changed the format of licences and since 1997 when drivers passing the car test only got a licence for a car: Drivers who passed after 1997 cannot drive 3500 - 7500 kg vans and trucks, minibuses (unless they are covered by an exemption) or tow heavy trailers. Many businesses use medium goods vehicles, minibuses and trailers and in my experience, many still do not understand the rules. Possession of a valid licence is a good starting point, but employers must also ensure that the licence covers the actual vehicle or vehicle/trailer combination, and that is sometimes very difficult to determine! The problem will get worse in the not too distant future because the 3rd EC Directive which came into force in 2013 has changed the validity of licences for "new drivers" who passed the test after the cut off date (19/01/13). Thier Car licences are valid for 10 years only instead of till age 70, and vocational licences are valid for 5 years.

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