If you employ van drivers, it’s a pretty obvious basic requirement that they actually have a licence to drive those vans.
But it’s amazing how many fleet operators fail to carry out this basic task, leaving themselves open to horrendous consequences in the result of an accident.
Fleet software firm CFC Solutions reckons that up to a third of fleets are guilty.
The company’s Licence Link software automatically generates an e-mail warning if there is any kind of driving licence issue with registered drivers – but Neville Briggs, managing director, says that around one in three fleets do not always “click through” to find out further details.
Briggs says: “These alerts can range from the mundane, such as a driver who has incorrectly entered his or her driving licence number onto the system, to significant changes such as licences being withdrawn.
“However, what we are finding is that a sizeable minority of fleets sometimes or always ignore these warnings. We know this because we can tell from the system whether they click through to gain further details.”
Briggs suspects these fleets wrongly believe that driving licence checking was essentially a “box ticking” exercise and that having software in place was sufficient to fulfil their duty of care responsibilities.
He says: “There could be all kinds of reasons for not clicking through – ranging from simply being very busy at the moment when it arrives and forgetting to follow it up through to thinking it unimportant and making a conscious decision to ignore it.“Whatever the reason, there is every chance that doing nothing when you receive an alert will mean that you are no longer compliant with your own risk management policy. It would certainly be a tough action to defend in duty of care terms if an accident later occurred that involved a driver whose alert had been ignored.”
The Freight Transport Association, in conjunction with Licence Bureau, the country’s leading provider of secure driver licence checks, is now offering a driver licence checking service specifically tailored for FTA members.
Health and safety legislation requires companies to have a robust procedure for checking the licences of everyone driving their vehicles, whether HGVs, buses, coaches, vans or company cars.
But the internal checking of licences is often time-consuming and inefficient. Crucially, revoked, disqualified, provisional and expired licences cannot always be identified when checked this way, particularly if drivers have duplicate licences.
The FTA’s service means that this labour-intensive job can be managed on behalf of customers. Licence Bureau’s experience shows that companies using its services can achieve a high level of driver compliance within the first three to six weeks of enrolment in the scheme.
Customers will have 24/7 access to online driver reports through a dedicated website, enabling managers to produce their own tailor-made reports.
For further information on the FTA driver licence checking service, go to http://www.fta.co.uk/services/licence_checking_service.html
By Trevor Gehlcken