Suppliers of the driver license validation service, License Bureau are warning fleet decision makers that they could face the same penalty points as their employees should they be convicted of a driving offence. This tightening of rules is due to an increasing number of these cases being recorded and a subsequent attempt to curb poor driving practices.
Despite the initial offence being committed by a third party, the often unknown or misunderstood ‘cause or permit to drive’ legislation, means that fleet managers will be just as culpable as the vehicle driver and therefore receive the same number of penalty points.
Steve Pinchen, sales director of License Bureau, explained: “This much unknown rule has some very serious implications indeed for individuals and businesses alike. Those responsible for business fleets – of any scale – really do need to do their homework and ensure that they have all bases covered when it comes to compliance. Not only that, but there is a cultural aspect here too where everyone must be attuned to minimising road safety risk.”
This implication is due to the Road Traffic Act, which holds driver and owner equally responsible for any offences which are committed. The Act also states that causing or permitting “driving otherwise than in accordance with a license” means individuals can incur three to six points. These points, along with a £1,000 fine will remain on both licenses for four years.
Not only are the points a cause for concern for the individuals, but according to Pinchen, the convictions also create “elevated risk profiles within the business”, impacting insurance premiums as well as the reputation of any company involved.
Currently, the majority of ‘dual penalty recipients’ which the License Bureau have recorded are related to ‘causing or permitting using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks’, an offence which can land individuals with between six to eight points on their license. Other notable offences include ‘using a vehicle with defective tires’ and ‘using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle’ which carry between three to six penalty points.
According to Lex Autolease earlier this year, the volume of motoring fines and penalties incurred by company car and van drivers increased by 3% in 2019. The rising number of penalties being incurred, combined with the tightening measures surrounding the responsibility for safe driving suggests that these changes to how penalties and points are assigned are the first in a long line of alterations being made.