THOUSANDS of businesses are potentially letting dangerous drivers at the wheel of their fleet and putting themselves at risk of a £500,000 fine, as fraudsters take advantage of a loop hole.
Businesses that need employees to drive as part of their work must monitor their entitlement to drive and verify driving licences, under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007. If they don’t, they can be fined upwards of £500,000.
According to the DVLA, 22 per cent of drivers currently have out of date licences and a whopping million UK drivers are only three points away from losing their licence.
Ken Naismith, General Manager of AdvancedCheck, which verifies driving licences on behalf of businesses, says it’s no longer enough for companies to rely on a visual inspection. He said: “Keeping organisations compliant means verifying that all permitted drivers are legal to drive, highlighting oversights and errors that can be put right before there’s a problem. We check for more serious issues too like employees holding more than one licence – a clean one to give to their employer while withholding the real one which is up-to-date with their convictions.
“When they know they are about to reach 12 points on their licence and facing a ban, unscrupulous drivers call the DVLA saying that they’ve lost their licence. When the DVLA issues a duplicate, fraudsters keep the old one for their employer while only the new counterpart is updated with endorsements.”
AdvancedCheck is one of a small number of companies who work with the DVLA to provide an Electronic Driver Entitlement Checking Service (EDECS) to businesses, giving them confidence that their employees, who are required to drive, are correctly licensed, entitled and insured at all times.
With such concerns on the rise, AdvancedCheck is now calling for the Government to change the law so that businesses have a responsibility to check the licences of their vocational drivers against DVLA records on an ongoing basis to ensure that fraudulent drivers don’t slip through the net.
Transport for London’s Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) now includes driving licence checking as a must-have for accreditation.
Bus operator, Stagecoach, also uses this service and Bus Operations director, Elizabeth Tasker, said: “AdvancedCheck has not only removed the administrative burden of checking licences, it has also given us complete peace of mind from the threat of a dishonest driver showing us a duplicate ‘clean’ licence.”
Tim Culpin, Head of Transport & Regulatory Law at Aaron and Partners LLP, commented: “The growing number of people getting points on their licence has resulted in the temptation for people to hide their poor driving record from their employer. It’s not enough for businesses to carry out a manual inspection of a driving licence. An online checking facility is the only way that businesses can effectively check that all of their vocational drivers are keeping within the law.”