Motoring – Check Your Employees Driving Licences

Vehicle Category Descriptions 1

Procedure for Checking Employees’ Driving Licences and Entitlement to Drive

A Guide

This guide provides guidance on policy and procedures for driving licence verification within a fleet environment, and reflects current best practice risk management. It is not intended to provide a simple ‘fit and forget’ policy amendment and should be used to ensure the on-going management and monitoring of employees’ eligibility to drive specific vehicles on company business.

The guidance is applicable to any size and form of fleet. However, all fleets operate under different conditions, with different driver profiles and locations. The advice, therefore, requires tailoring and adapting to meet the specific needs of your individual fleet.

This guide is intended to be used in conjunction with, and complement, your fleet policy documentation and driver handbooks. Use the information to evaluate your current driving licence verification policy and highlight any potential deficiencies in your policies and procedures.

Companies have an explicit Duty of Care to all other road users while their employees are driving on company business: ensuring that employees are both able and eligible to drive is of fundamental importance. This guide is primarily concerned with helping you to achieve this. By adopting the best practice techniques outlined in this guide, you will effectively reduce risk exposure and provide protection to:

  • employees, as they will be driving legally and within their capabilities
  • the employer, as they will be taking all reasonable actions to meet basic Duty of Care responsibilities
  • shareholders/stakeholders, by reducing the likelihood of legal action against the company
  • other road users, by removing the possibility of them becoming an accident victim of a driver who is neither competent nor qualified to drive a vehicle (and, therefore, not insured)

Complying with the law

In the UK, the laws governing driving activities are clear in the Road Traffic Acts and the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations. These laws relate to the type of vehicle a driver may operate, the condition and roadworthiness of the vehicle, the ability and qualifications needed to drive the vehicle, and issues of adequate insurance cover. The same laws apply to drivers whether on private or business journeys.

The requirements for all fleets are essentially similar, regardless of fleet size or business sector. In the UK, the legal minimum requirement is for the driver of a vehicle to hold a full and valid driving licence for that vehicle category. Under this requirement, drivers will be unable to carry out their business duties on a provisional licence, unless using a moped, as this would necessitate a qualified driver accompanying them in the vehicle at all times.

So, as a fleet operator, how can you ensure that the minimum legal requirement is being met? By the strict letter of the law, there is no specific requirement for fleet managers to carry out driving licence checks. Relying on employees themselves to ensure they have a current and valid driving licence can, however, leave a company severely exposed to legal action through negligence and failing to meet Duty of Care obligations.

This guide is, therefore, intended to provide practical guidance to any type of business – whether large or small, and operating in the private or public sector – to help it meet its responsibility of ensuring drivers are qualified to drive a vehicle on company business. It will enable you to gain an understanding of the many different licence types, vehicle categories, and driving licence restrictions/caveats, all of which need careful consideration when assessing driver eligibility. The guidance will prove of great value not only to fleet managers and administrators, but also to company secretaries, human resource managers and company directors, because:

  • often smaller businesses (those operating only a few dozen vehicles) may not have dedicated fleet personnel
  • where there are dedicated fleet personnel and an employee is involved in a serious accident and is subsequently found not to possess a full, valid and appropriate driving licence, the courts may find that the responsibility for this failing does not lie solely with the driver and fleet manager, but also rests with company directors

With central Government’s increasing focus on Duty of Care and corporate manslaughter, it is predicted that fleet operators will need to take action to ensure that their policies and monitoring systems will stand up to external scrutiny in the event of a serious accident involving employees on company business.

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