Fleets should perform driving licence checks for high-risk drivers more frequently, according to the Association for Driving License Verification (ADLV).
Currently, Freight Transport Association and Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) guidelines recommend bi-annual licence checks as standard.
However, the ADLV suggests drivers should be checked more frequently as they approach losing their licence, and those with more than nine points on their licence should be checked monthly.
Fleets cannot depend on self-declaring by staff when they receive penalties, says the association. This is because penalty points and potential disqualifications can occur very quickly, especially with recent increased penalties for mobile phone use (up to six points). As a result, licence checks should be based on risk management.
The ADLV suggested a potential 'scaled response' approach:
• 0-3 points – normal risk profile – bi-annual licence checks
• 4-7 points – medium risk - quarterly
• 8+ points – monthly
Mark Sugden, secretary of the ADLV, said: “Britain has a high number of road fatalities and, sadly, between five and six hundred each year involve people or vehicles in work-related crashes.
“For such potentially high-risk work, one would expect driving licence checks to be frequent and thorough. But, as a recent poll revealed, some companies only run checks once a year, and many still rely on employees to inform them of any changes.
“When someone’s job is on the line, the sad fact is that relying on trust simply isn’t enough.”
Indeed, a recent RAC Insurance survey discovered that only 13% of respondents would inform their employers of penalty points that they incurred, with 25% already having points that they had previously failed to disclose.
“Many fleets run no follow-up checks, only checking documentation properly when new employees join,” Sugden added. “This means there could well be employees who are no longer legally entitled to drive behind the wheel, leaving their organisation wide open to considerable fines, and, in the case of an incident or crash, severe reputational damage.
“Now that licence checks can easily be made online, there is no excuse not to automate and streamline the checking processes. This one move could contribute significantly to safer roads and fleets that ‘know their drivers’ better.”
The ADLV's suggestion that fleets should increase licence checking frequencies corresponds with Traffic Commissioner guidelines that checks should be undertaken once every quarter.
While the ADLV says it understands that the time and expense of running checks can be an impediment for organisations, it is also important to consider the balance against expensive penalty fines as well as road safety implications with a potential cost to human life.