Fleets should increase the frequency of driving licence checks on high risk drivers, says the Association for Driving Licence Verification (ADLV).
It is recommending monthly checks should be carried out on drivers with more than nine points as a matter of best-practice.
The recommendations seek to build on guidelines by the Freight Transport Association and FORS (Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme) which both recommend drivers should be checked at least bi-annually as a matter of course.
However, according to the ADLV, as a driver gets closer to losing their licence then more frequent checking makes good sense – as penalty points and potential disqualifications can happen quickly through totting up.
It’s simply not enough, says the Association, for fleets to rely on staff self-declaring when they receive penalties. Rather, full compliance should be based on a managed risk based approach.
Mark Sugden, secretary of the ADLV, said: “Britain has a high number of road fatalities and, sadly, between five and six hundred each year involve people or vehicles in work-related crashes.
“For such potentially high-risk work, one would expect driving licence checks to be frequent and thorough. But, as a recent poll revealed, some companies only run checks once a year, and many still rely on employees to inform them of any changes.
“When someone’s job is on the line, the sad fact is that relying on trust simply isn’t enough.”
Indeed, a recent RAC Insurance survey discovered that only 13% of respondents would inform their employers of penalty points that they incurred, with 25% already having points that they had previously failed to disclose.
“Many fleets run no follow-up checks, only checking documentation properly when new employees join,” continued Sugden. “This means there could well be employees who are no longer legally entitled to drive behind the wheel, leaving their organisation wide open to considerable fines, and, in the case of an incident or crash, severe reputational damage.
“Now that licence checks can easily be made online, there is no excuse not to automate and streamline the checking processes. This one move could contribute significantly to safer roads and fleets that ‘know their drivers’ better.”
With recent increases in penalty points for mobile phone use (up to six points), points can now accumulate faster than ever.
In light of this, says the ADLV, fleet best-practice frequencies for licence checking need to increase. This ties in with The Traffic Commissioners’ advice that fleets should undertake checks every quarter.
In addition, the ADLV believes that a risk-based ‘scaled response’ approach could help ensure maximum protection for businesses.
This could be:
• 0-3 points – normal risk profile – bi-annually
• 4-7 points – medium risk - quarterly
• 8+ points – monthly
The ADLV says that it understands that the time and expense of running checks is probably the main reason many organisations avoid doing so on a frequent basis.
While this might seem daunting to some, the ADLV says it’s important to balance the initial costs against hugely damaging fines or worse still, the cost in human terms when things go wrong.
The ADLV is to promote the new policy on the basis that its endorsement is a vital investment in road safety.
According to the recommendations, those fleets where best-practice and compliance are uppermost should review the frequency of checks at the earliest convenience.