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Fleet managers risk conviction for employees’ driving offences

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Fleet decision-makers could face the same penalty points as their employees should they be convicted of a driving offence, the Licence Bureau is warning.

The supplier of driver licence validation services says it is witnessing an increasing number of these cases being recorded on its system.

Responsible parties can incur the same penalty points as the actual vehicle driver due to the often unknown and much misunderstood ‘cause or permit to drive’ legislation.

Licence Bureau says that it means even though the initial offence was committed by a third party, it was ultimately the fleet manager’s responsibility.

Steve Pinchen, sales director of Licence Bureau, explained: “This much unknown rule has some very serious implications indeed for individuals and businesses alike.

“Those responsible for business fleets – of any scale – really do need to do their homework and ensure that they have all bases covered when it comes to compliance. Not only that, but there is a cultural aspect here too where everyone must be attuned to minimising road safety risk.”

According to the Road Traffic Act 1988/1991, ownership of a vehicle involved in an offence is irrelevant. This therefore implicates both owned business fleet and grey fleet operators.

The Act also cites that causing or permitting driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence can incur three to six points with fine up to £1,000.

The points remain for four years on licence from date of offence. The ‘person responsible for the fleet’ can have the points added to their own personal driving licence.

At present, the majority of these ‘dual penalty recipient’ offences recorded on Licence Bureau’s system relate to ‘causing or permitting using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks’ – an offence which carries six to eight penalty points.

Pinchen said: “Beyond the actual penalty points there are the knock-on implications for elevated risk profiles within the business and what that might mean for insurance premiums; professional and personal impacts for fleet managers; as well as potential for reputational damage for the company.”

Other offences recorded on Licence Bureau’s system include ‘using a vehicle with defective tyres’ which carries three penalty points for each individual implicated, and ‘using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle’ which carries three to six penalty points.

The volume of motoring fines and penalties incurred by company car and van drivers increased by 3% in 2019, according to figures from Lex Autolease released earlier this year. 

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Comments

  • Paul - 17/09/2020 15:45

    I'd like to see this report from Licence Bureau broken down into the number of each type of offence where both the driver and the Fleet Manager had their licences endorsed. If its a company vehicle then the driver could perhaps be exonerated if there were reasonable grounds for them to believe the vehicle was insured and the focus of "permitting" would then be on the Fleet Manager, but I fail to see how the FM can be jointly culpable for a driver using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving if there are policies in place to forbid this.

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