The one-year anniversary of the driving licence paper counterpart removal must serve as a catalyst for enhancing the speed and security of licence checking, alongside introducing further features into the industry, according to Licence Bureau.
The counterpart document was abolished on 8th June 2015 as part of the DVLA moving all core licence services online. The all-digital approach has enabled fleets and third-party licence checking providers to check licences in real-time, through the Access to Driver Data (ADD) system.
Although the overall licence checking process has been streamlined with View/Share Driving Licence, Licence Bureau believes further innovations such as Driver Certificate of Professional Competence and Tachograph card number expiry are required in order to generate a better compliance profile of each driver.
“Despite making huge progress in the last year, more still needs to be done, in terms of driver data security, such as the View/Share Driver Record process and ensuring consent has been obtained and the process has been audited. Drivers should also be able to see who has viewed their record and when,” commented Malcolm Maycock, managing director of Licence Bureau.
Further improvements to ADD are ongoing, with the overall speed and efficiency of checks having improved greatly, along with the ability to verify larger amounts of data at the same time. The speed of acquiring driver consent has enhanced considerably through e-Consent signatures, as opposed to the traditional D796 wet signature consent form.
One of the biggest issues within the industry is with licence checking frequency. With the introduction of the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) and Van Excellence with the Freight Transport Association, twice-yearly checking has been recommended as a minimum. Licence Bureau believe, as endorsed by the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, a recommendation of at least four times a year, thus maintaining the latest driver information.
In the longer term, Licence Bureau is also calling for additional enhancements to the data of those drivers who have provided consent for their licences to be checked. This includes any notifications for a driver to contact the DVLA regarding any issues, in addition to greater access to prospective driver information, for those who reside outside the UK.
“A culture of frequently checking licences must be instilled across the entire industry. With a constant fall in the cost of licence checks, there’s no excuse for not doing more regular checks in real-time. The process needs to be performed as often as it is affordable and practicable,” added Maycock.
Licence Bureau are the licence checking partner for Fleet News' arrive and drive event, Company Car in Action, which takes place next week.