Fleet managers are being urged to make additional licence checks for temporary hires and staff delivery drivers covering the Christmas and New Year sales period to ensure that drivers are qualified to be on the road.
According to Licence Check, fleet managers need to be extra vigilant during and after the Christmas period, in order to mitigate the risk of temporary drivers being sent out on the road, without the necessary driving entitlement, or with a poor record.
Equally important is checking in the new year, that staff haven’t picked up any new licence endorsements, such as speeding and drink driving over the festive period, that make them unfit to drive, or present an unacceptable risk profile to the employer.
Drivers are under huge pressure to make deliveries on time and many are working long hours, without appropriate breaks to meet challenging delivery schedules.
Only recently, Hermes was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive after they were alerted that the courier company had asked its 5,000 staff to work up to 20 days without a break.
Richard Brown, managing director of Licence Check said: “Many delivery drivers will be working longer hours over the next few weeks, with increased deliveries squeezed into their day. Some unscrupulous or under-pressure employers are turning a blind eye to the fact that drivers are being over worked, without breaks and may be tempted to push agency drivers out in vehicles without the usual safety checks. However tempting this may be as a short-term fix, it should be remembered that this is putting lives and property at risk.
“Reasonable employers carefully plan their routing and deliveries and ensure their drivers are fully compliant. They also carry out regular licence checks, so they can spot any potential problems early on and take appropriate action.
“We recommend that employers make driving licence checks in December and run a repeat check in January or February, so that only drivers with appropriate licences are on the road and those that have offended over the Christmas period, are identified.
"The temptation for drivers to speed so they can meet delivery deadlines is very real and with little or no time off, turning up for work after a boozy Christmas party is tempting for many, especially when they are working 20 days without a break."