Driving licence changes – employers responsibility

Forthcoming changes as part of the government’s initiative to reduce red tape will do away with the paper counterpart of the photocard driving licence and impact the ways that critical driver information can be accessed.  So what do businesses who employ people who drive for a living need to know?

From 8 June the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence will become invalid (except for photocard licences issued by DVA in Northern Ireland) and the DVLA will cease to issue the paper counterpart with new licences.

The paper counterpart to photocard licences used to provide address details, categories of entitlement and the recording of driving offences and fines. Previously, this counterpart and the pre-1998 paper licences used to be updated to reflect any changes in driver entitlement or penalties. However, from 8 June this will no longer happen.  As a result of changes to the recording of this information,  businesses will no longer be able to rely on a visual check to ensure that their employees are qualified and legally permitted to take company vehicles on to the road.

So what are the options?

Check online

The DVLA have introduced two new developments. The first is called ‘View My Licence’. This facility is designed for the licence holder only and replaces the information that was available to view on the counterpart. Access is restricted but not prohibited only to the licence holder; this service is not designed for use by businesses.

The second development is called ‘Share my Record’ and allows any licence holder to create a “one off” licence check code to share their driving record with a third party, e.g. their employer or a car hire company. This code is unique and valid for 72 hours.  This means that an employer can access an individual’s record online to ensure that the driver satisfies all legal and company requirements.  More information can be found at www.gov.uk/check-driving-information

Check by post or phone

Businesses can still contact the DVLA for a check, at a cost of £5 per check, or use the call centre service which is payable using a premium rate number.  In both cases, the driver’s permission is required.

Businesses must make sure that anyone they employ to drive has the right licence and qualifications.  It’s clear that there are cost and time benefits of using the new online system but whatever the method used, we endorse VOSA’s recommendation that employers check their drivers’ licences on a quarterly basis.