With only weeks to go before the abolition of the paper counterpart of the photocard driving licence on June 8, fleet managers should have begun addressing the move to online checking, industry experts are warning.
The abolition of the licence paper counterpart presents fleet operators with a duty-of-care quandary: how are they going to check whether employees are legally entitled to drive without a visible record of their driving eligibility?
Traditionally, the counterpart carried details of any driving offences and endorsements that drivers might have received. But its abolition means there will be no manual means of checking drivers’ licences, entitlements and endorsements after June 8.
There is up-to-date information on driving licence changes on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) website and the Agency says it working closely with the industry to ensure that its systems and processes are ready for the changes.
What do the changes mean?
Drivers who wish to access their licence information, such as penalty points, will have to do so online, by phone or via post via the DVLA website. But they can also give their consent for their employers to do this through the DVLA’s View Driving Licence online service, or via the ‘Share Driving Licence’ service which will become available on, or after, June 8.
Going forward, all new penalty points will only be recorded electronically, and will not be printed or written on either photocard licences or paper driving licences. From June 8, if your drivers commit a driving offence they will still have to pay any applicable fine and submit their licence to the court in the usual way.
Drivers booking rental vehicles abroad will require a special code to access their licence online.
What problems could drivers face?
One issue that has been much publicised is that of drivers picking up rental vehicles at UK airports, or booking for holidays abroad after the June deadline. To do so, they will need to pre-generate a special code to access their licence online to show the rental company what endorsements they might have on their licence.
To access their details, drivers will need:
- their driving licence number
- their National Insurance number
- the postcode on their driving licence
Drivers will also have the option to download their driving history as a printable PDF file, although it is unclear whether all car hire firms will accept that.
Experts are concerned, however, the new system could lead to people being turned away by foreign car hire firms who may still insist on examining the paper counterpart to check for endorsements or bans.
At least one major motoring organisation is advising drivers intending to travel abroad to retain their paper counterparts. And the terms and conditions of many car rental companies still state that paper counterparts must be produced.
Why is online checking important
By switching to online checking now will help fleets avoid the issues surrounding licence renewal, endorsements or verification of new and existing licences.
Rather than deterring fleets from using online licence checking services, some experts are predicting that more companies will move to using an online checking and compliance service – as data for an entire fleet is collated in a single place, cutting down administration considerably.
Should fleets leave any changes too late, it could cost them considerably in extra resources as they try to catch up.
By being fully prepared and minimising any changeover issues, fleets can take advantage of quicker and more efficient licence verification from June 8th onwards.
What can Fleet Alliance offer?
Fleet Alliance already offers on online service, Licence Check, which reduces risk by automatically checking drivers’ licences against DVLA licence data, and is a perfect way of resolving the current dilemma.
Licence Check helps comply with the Health and Safety guidelines regarding driver licence checking. Once drivers are set up, the process is automatic. This not only reduces the risks to the business but also reduces the administrative burden of checking licences.
Licence Check provides comprehensive and up to date data on your drivers, directly from DVLA data which also protects the company against fraud. Users can also choose the frequency of the checks and carry these out more often for drivers with driving convictions or a poor accident record.
At the same time, Fleet Alliance can provide help and advice in setting up your drivers for automated and secure driver licence checking.
Tips for fleets and drivers:
- Fleets should digitalise their records as soon as possible
- Ensure their chosen provider is giving the range of services they require
- Consent can be easily obtained from employees before transferring licence checking online
- Drivers need to understand that the counterpart can be discarded from June 8th
- Drivers who only possess paper licences won’t be affected until renewing
Fleets who provide daily rental solutions should be aware of the change in the rental process
For more information on Licence Check contact us on 0845 601 8407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org