We know that when you have a company fleet to manage it is not just the vehicles you are responsible for, you also have a duty of care for the drivers in your fleet.
Part of this duty of care is ensuring that they are properly qualified to operate any vehicles then need to use as part of their job or any company vehicles that you provide them with for private or business use.
Why Check Drivers’ Licences?
It is important that you ensure all of your employees are as safe as possible when using any company vehicles or driving for business purposes.
These checks are essential to ensure that they are qualified and legally entitled to drive the vehicle that they are using but can also be helpful when considering driver training for your employees. Many businesses find it useful to look at the existing driving endorsements that drivers have on their record to see if there are areas of concern for particular drivers or a wider issue that several of their drivers could benefit from additional training on.
You should also be aware that under the Road Traffic Act you will be held responsible as well if a driver who does not hold a valid licence is involved in a road traffic accident when in a company vehicle.
The Driving Licence Checks Process
There are two main processes that you can follow for checking the driving licences of your employees if you decide to run these checks internally.
The first method you can use to check your driving licence will require your internal fleet manager to communicate with each driver directly to obtain a one-off code from them.
You will then have 21 days from when this code is provided to use this and the last eight characters of their driving licence number to check the licence is valid and see any applicable penalties on it.
To complete this check you will need to take it to the government’s website here.
However, it is recommended that you regularly check your drivers’ licences as driving penalties can be picked up at any time and you run the risk of having non-compliant drivers without regular checks. A general guideline is that driving licences are at least checked annually, though you might find it beneficial to check licences more regularly than this especially if there are some drivers who show particular areas of concern.
Depending on the size of your fleet this could be a time consuming and lengthy process, especially if you are reliant on drivers providing a valid code each time. This is why the DVLA has a service called the Access to Driver Data (ADD) which allows you to check driver record of a number of drivers quickly and with minimum effort. Access to ADD can be very costly though and is still a fair amount of work for your internal fleet manager as they will need to keep records and manually check the ADD service for each driver.
Alternatively, you might decide to reduce the work for your internal fleet manager and outsource the driving licence checks to an external company. This is an option that many companies with a substantial number of drivers in opt for as it saves them the cost of ADD access, the time that reporting takes and often streamlines and simplifies the process.
What You Need To Know About Fleet Drivers License Checks Quick Points
We've rounded up the key facts about driving licence checks that every fleet manager should know in the helpful questions and answers below.
How Often Should You Check Employees' Driving Licences?
We advise checking your drivers' licences when they initially start with the business, if they will potentially be required to be in charge of a vehicle as part of their role, and then annually after this.
If driving is a more essential part of your employees' roles then we would recommend checking licences more regularly, for example quarterly.
You will usually need to obtain permission from them in order to check their driving licence, and this may only be valid for a set period and so you may need to request this repeatedly during their employment.
What Can Happen If Licences Are Not Checked?
A driving licence is a legal requirement for any driver who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle on UK roads. If a driver does not have a licence, it has been suspended or they are not qualified to operate the vehicle they are driving then they pose a significant risk to themselves and other road users. As their employer, you have a responsibility and duty of care to your employees that they are qualified to drive the vehicle that you are requiring them to.
As mentioned above, under the Road Traffic Act you will be held responsible as well if a driver who does not hold a valid licence is involved in a road traffic accident when in a company vehicle. So not checking licences regularly could end up costing your company a lot.
Can You Outsource Licence Checking?
Yes, you can outsource the checking of your employees' driving licences to a third-party company, such as Wessex Fleet.
Companies that have a dedicated licence checking service will have a wealth of experience to draw from and provide you with general information about the service, changes in legislation and how these may impact you as well as policy guidance and support.
They will also be compliant with all legislation and data protection with an audit trail in case you need this at a later point.
Wessex Fleet Driving Licence Check Services
Wessex Fleet offer a number of services as part of our fleet management packages, one of which is driving licence checks.
We offer a secure and GDPR compliant service that efficiently manages all of your fleet drivers’ licence checks in one easy to use online portal for your admin team.
As our system is online it’s paperless and automated, reducing the administrative burden on your internal fleet management team.
We also use an easy to review at a glance traffic light report, which highlights any drivers of concern.
You will receive regular updates on your drivers, and this can be set to be completed at any period you need, though we recommend a minimum of running these checks annually. Your business might decide to run checks more frequently than that, especially for drivers where there are areas of concern.
After each check, we will let you know the current status of your drivers’ licences and any applicable active endorsements on them.
We can then add new starters as and when they join the business. If a new starter holds a UK driving licence we can offer you an instant check on their licence.
Please note that all drivers will need to provide consent for the driving licence checks to be completed, but once they have we can then run as many checks as needed for the following three years.
We've got a more detailed breakdown on how we can help take a look at this page.