Whenever employees are required to drive a vehicle in order to do their job, employers need to be sure that they are legally permitted to do so. As well as checking that staff members have a valid driving licence and are not disqualified from driving, employers may also need to check whether they are qualified to drive certain types of vehicles. I n the UK, i f staff are using their own vehicle (such vehicles are typically referred to as the “grey fleet”), employers will also need to know that their insurance is valid and covers business use and that the vehicle is correctly taxed and has a valid MOT.
The consequences of failing to do this can be significant. If a driver is involved in an incident while driving for work purposes and is proved to have been driving illegally, there will likely be substantial legal, financial and reputational ramifications for the employer, as well as the obvious legal consequences for the employee.
When considering driving licence checks, it’s important to think more broadly than just those employees who are employed to drive a company vehicle, such as HGV drivers or motorbike couriers. Employees who use their own vehicles to conduct work business are just as closely linked to a business as the more immediately obvious ‘professional’ drivers.
Employees’ driving status is something that needs careful monitoring. Licence endorsements are processed rapidly nowadays, meaning that a driver’s legal right to drive a vehicle can change just as quickly. Medical conditions are worth bearing in mind too, as changes here can affect someone’s ability to drive or may even invalidate their insurance cover.
For UK drivers (other than those in Northern Ireland), we can conduct instant driving licence checks through the DVLA . This verifies someone’s driving licence number and the vehicles they are permitted to drive and checks for any endorsements or disqualifications on their licence. For people with an international licence rather than a UK licence, this check will confirm whether they have received any endorsements or disqualifications while using their international licence to drive in the UK.
We also offer a similar service in other countries around the world. Working directly with the national driving licence issuing authority, we’re able to check the validity of someone’s licence and, in some countries, obtain their full driving history. The only significant difference between these checks and their UK equivalent is the time taken. The process of obtaining overseas driving licence information is a manual one, meaning the response time is longer.
Finally, for UK employers making use of grey fleet vehicles, we also offer MOT, road tax and insurance checks . This involves checking the MOT and road tax status of an individual’s vehicle, the level of insurance cover it has and the policy’s expiry date.
It’s worth remembering that the onus here is firmly on the employer to ensure that employees are suitably licensed and insured and not subject to any bans or restrictions. Failure to do this could see a negligent employer prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 should their driver be involved in an incident.