A company who has employees who drive for business have extra duty of care responsibilities.
Regularly checking driving licences is a key part of this responsibility, as this will provide a basic information, that your employee is legal to drive, as well as which vehicle categories they are licensed for and any points incurred.
According to a recent RAC Insurance survey, 25% of motorists surveyed who already had penalty points did not inform any organisation when they received them, while only 13% would tell their employer if they incurred any. Allowing employees to drive for work, when they should not be, bears consequences not only for the employee, but also for the employer.
This blog looks at 5 things you need to know about checking employee licences.
1 - Allowing Employees to Drive on Business is Actually an Offence
The Road Traffic Act (1988)
states “that it is an offence for a person to cause or permit another person to drive on a road in a motor vehicle of any class if that person is not the holder of a licence authorising him to drive a motor vehicle of that class.”
Simply put, this means that an employer is legally obliged to ensure the validity of their employees driving licences. For organisations with larger vehicles, licence checks must ensure that the employee is legally entitled to drive such vehicles.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also consider a vehicle to a be a "work place", in terms of health and safety.
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) states that employers must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees at work. It also states employers must ensure that others are not put at risk by work-related driving activities.
Licence checking forms part of that responsibility.
2 - The Legal Implications
Worst case scenario; if there is evidence to suggest a failure in management and one of your employees is killed on the road, while driving for work purposes, you risk being prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. This is a serious offence that can carry a prison sentence and fines of up to £20 million!
Most employers however, will be far more concerned about the possibility of prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The best preparation for this scenario is documented evidence, showing steps have been taken to identify and address risks. This involves regular checks of licences and policy documents must be regularly reviewed and issued to employees. If an employee is identified as higher risk, then more frequent checks should be conducted (such as a young driver).
3 - Data Protection Laws (GDPR)
Obviously data contained within driver records is considered personal data, and therefore any checks conducted by employers need to be done so with the driver's consent. The DVLA require consent in the form of a mandate, which can be done electronically.
Performing checks without this consent is an offence under the GDPR, which also carries fines, and with the GDPR, recording the consent is absolutely essential. It is not enough to obtain verbal permission.
4 - Regular Checking is Essential
It is not enough to simply check an employees licence once when their employment begins. As mentioned earlier, only 13% of employees would inform their employers if they incurred points.
Good practice is to carry out licence checks annually or every 6 months for drivers with a clean licence, and increase the frequency if the employee is deemed to be high risk (due to penalty points, experience etc).
5 - Checking Can Be Done Online
The DVLA have revolutionised the speed and ease with which licences can be checked.
We are no longer relying on the employee to provide paper copies, which ultimately may not be legitimate, and more likely, may not be forthcoming!
Automated licence checking software enables companies to carry out multiple checks for hundreds of drivers in one go, eliminating any administrative burden for an organisation, whilst ensuring compliance.
Click here for a free trial of our DriverCare software solution.