One in five fleets is failing to regularly recheck driving licences after carrying out an initial check, fleet software market leader CFC Solutions has found.
The company reports that around a fifth of companies that have undertaken checks using its Licence Link software do not have any plans to see if the status of their drivers has changed – notably by gathering more penalty points – even though advice from the Association of Car Fleet Operators is to recheck every six months.
Neville Briggs, managing director at CFC, said: "There is varying guidance on how often driving licences should be rechecked with the DVLA. ACFO recommends every six months but we reccomend that if a driver has a high number of points – eight or more – then their employer should be running a check much more often, perhaps every month.
"However, what has surprised us is the relatively high number of fleets who appear to be treating driving licence checks as a ‘once only’ exercise. They use Licence Link once, take account of the results but then have no structured plans to rerun the check. It is a worrying trend and, in all probability, a duty of care failing."
CFC advises that the frequency of driving licence rechecks should be made based on how many points a driver has on their licence. For most fleets, the guidance is annually for those with no points, every six months for those with 1-3, every three months for those with 4-7, and every month for those with 8-12.
Briggs said: "This approach is based on the principle that drivers with points represent a greater risk to the fleet and that the more points they have, the higher the risk they are. This is a commonsense approach followed by all risk management specialists.
"Clearly, drivers in the highest risk categories, where they are only one or two offences away from a ban, need to be checked very regularly. They are both the highest risk from a duty of care point of view but also have the most to lose in the event of a ban – probably their job – and so are much more likely to try to hide that information."
Briggs added that what was needed among those fleets failing to recheck was a shift in the level of assumption that they made about their drivers and their licences.
He said: "Fleets that choose not to recheck are making two false assumptions – that drivers will update them about any changes and that these changes rarely happen. In fact, our experience with Licence Link is that drivers with ‘bad’ licences are willing to lie – just last week we uncovered one who had a drink-driving ban – while the points status of drivers can change very rapidly, often in course of a matter of months.
"We would urge these fleets very strongly to put a structured approach to licence rechecking in place. Otherwise, they are playing with the safety of their fleet."
About Licence Link
Free to adopt, Licence Link is designed to help all employers simplify the routine task of regularly checking car and van driver licence information through a web based system – something made essential by the recent introduction of risk management legislation.
Once basic driving licence information is entered onto Licence Link, fleet managers can choose how often automatic checks are made with the DVLA database – for example, annually for low mileage drivers or more often for high mileage, high risk employees.
Risk summary reports will automatically group drivers into different levels of risk group – for example, those with 1-3, 4-7, 8-12 and 12 plus points, and Licence Link can be set up so that those with higher numbers of points are checked more often.
Automatic alerts are sent to the fleet manager if the DVLA checks show changes to endorsements, the categories of vehicle that an employee is allowed to drive or if there are critical licence events such as disqualification or a photo card expiring.
Further features in Licence Link include the ability to upload and store document scans against each driver record, such as an image of each driver’s licence and driver declarations. These files are held online and encrypted for security purposes.
Access to Licence Link is via a credit payment scheme. To run checks, a company buys credits in advance and as each licence check is made, the system displays the credits remaining, providing a constant balance reminder for the fleet manager.