Fleet Licence Check News Blog


Fewer Young People Getting Driving Licences – But Why?

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, February 09, 2018

If it seems like there are fewer young people on the roads these days, it is not just your imagination. Researched data from a report commissioned by the Department for Transport says the number of young people between the ages of 17 and 29 with driving licences has fallen some 19% over the last 20 years.  Read More


DVLA Takes the Health of Drivers Seriously

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, January 19, 2018

We obviously advocate for real-time licence checks among all employers who have drivers on the payroll. Whether you are talking fleet drivers or those whose professional driving is more casual in nature, regular licence checks keep employers abreast of an individual's ability to drive legally on our roads. Unfortunately, licence checks are not very helpful when trying to understand driver health. Read More


A Careless Driving Reminder for the New Year

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, January 05, 2018

Now that we've officially turned the page on 2018, we thought it might be helpful to remind our readers about some of the lesser-known offences that could get drivers in trouble. Said offences are all listed as 'careless driving' under the law. Being found guilty of any of them could lead to penalty points and fines.

As a company that promotes electronic licence checks among employers with drivers on the payroll, we understand just how important it is for those who drive for a living to avoid violating the law. Just one misdemeanour could put a driver's job in jeopardy as well as exposing his or her employer to liability.

With that in mind, here are some of the more common careless driving offences:

Hogging the Middle Lane

Believe it or not, maintaining a position in the middle lane on a motorway and thereby forcing faster traffic around you is considered an offence. Slower traffic should always keep to the far-left lane; the middle lane is reserved for overtaking. Part 264 of the Highway Code says so:

"You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past."

Tailgating

Tailgating is an offence for obvious reasons. Driving too closely to the driver in front of you is dangerous. Safety demands that you leave at least one or two car lengths between you and the car ahead, more distance if the weather is bad.

Driving Too Slowly

Although there is no minimum speed in the UK – except in areas that are clearly marked as such – driving too slowly is also an offence. If you are driving slowly enough to cause others around you to have to slow down significantly, you are creating a safety issue. The same is true for unnecessary braking.

There are many other offences that fall under the careless driving category not listed here. Know this: thousands of drivers every year receive fines and penalty points as a result of being found guilty of one of them. Protect yourself by being a better driver in 2018. If you are an employer with drivers on the payroll, protect your company by committing to regular electronic licence checks for the coming year.

Sources:

Highway Code UK – http://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/lane-discipline.html

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Winter Weather Offers More Opportunities for Licence Points

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter has arrived with colder temperatures and the season's first snow. That's not necessarily a bad thing, unless the winter weather results in you being fined and given penalty points for not clearing snow from your car. Yes indeed, the winter months offer yet more opportunities to gain driver licence points. Read More


Thousands of New Drivers Lose Licences in First Year

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, December 08, 2017

It is not necessarily a given that earning one's driving licence will mean uninterrupted driving for a lifetime. In fact, a new study conducted by ALA reveals that thousands of new drivers in the UK lose their licences within a year of obtaining them. The study's results offer yet another reason for employers to take advantage of regular licence checks on all employees who drive for work.  Read More


New Driving Licence Guidance Bad for NI Schools

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, November 24, 2017

Real-time licence checks, like those we perform for our clients, would quickly tell a school in Northern Ireland whether select teachers had D1 minibus driving licences. Up until now, such a need has never arisen. But that may change thanks to new guidance just issued by the Department for Infrastructure to the Education Authority.

In what is being greeted as bad news by educators in Northern Ireland, the Education Authority has issued guidance clarifying what kind of driving licence is required by teachers who ferry students to and from educational opportunities using minibuses. The standard in Northern Ireland has always been to allow teachers to do so as volunteers, thus not requiring them to possess a D1 licence.

It is not clear why the Education Authority began working on the new guidance, but the law is very clear in what it says about driving minibuses as a volunteer or paid professional. Education Authority director of transport strategy Tom Reid explained as much in a letter outlining the new guidance.

Reid explained that teachers driving a minibus during school hours, for school business, and in situations in which they are responsible for the general welfare of the students cannot be considered volunteers. Said teachers are being paid in such circumstances, thereby making driving an essential part of employment.

"As a result, under the current legislative framework, a teacher driving a school minibus will need a full D1 licence," Reid wrote. "They will also need the driver certificate of professional competence."

Selective Enforcement for Now

Schools now have to find the time and money to get their teachers trained and licenced. They must also decide what to do about already scheduled events requiring student transport. If there is any good news, it's the fact that enforcement will be on a case-by-case basis for now.

The department has warned that schools willing to send out unlicensed drivers prior to the completion of their training and certification are risking insurance invalidation. The Education Authority says it is working on making driver training available from January 1st.

As unpleasant as it is, these are exactly the kinds of situations that call for real-time licence checks. Schools in Northern Ireland now need to know the licence status of any teachers driving minibuses for school functions. If the appropriate licence is not possessed, a teacher cannot be allowed to drive.

Sources:

BBC – http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-41977567

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NI Driver Stopped by Police Found with Multiple Licences

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, November 10, 2017

Yet another case demonstrating the need for driver licence checks has arisen in Northern Ireland. In this case, a foreign-born driver now residing in the province was stopped by police in mid-October. Through legal proceedings it was discovered that the man possessed multiple driving licences, none of which was a full UK licence.

The Tyrone Times reported on 24 October that 27-year-old Mindaugas Kucinskas was stopped on October 12 in Dungannon. Kucinskas told police that he had no insurance because he had purchased the car with the intent to sell it. Police instructed him to submit his driving licence to the local station within a week. Upon doing so, it was discovered Kucinskas had licences from multiple jurisdictions, including Lithuania. He also had a provisional licence from Northern Ireland. He did not have a UK licence, which is required for legal residents. Kucinskas has been living in the UK since 2007.

It was revealed in court that Kucinskas had a previous conviction for driving without insurance. According to the defending solicitor, he is also unemployed and receiving job seekers allowance. The court took all of this into consideration when issuing a pre-sentence report in anticipation of a November 15th hearing.

You Have to Know

It is fortunate that this case did not end in some sort of tragic situation. Even so, it does provide further proof that employers have to know exactly who it is they have driving their vehicles. Had the defendant in this case managed to get a job involving any measure of driving, he would have been driving illegally.

Remember that the defendant has been in the UK for a decade. His Lithuanian driving licence is no longer valid here because he is a legal resident. Furthermore, his Northern Ireland provisional licence is not valid either. He would not be legally eligible to drive any vehicle, let alone driving for professional reasons.

A driver licence check of all new employees guarantees an employer does not hire a driver without a valid licence. Routine checks following employment make it possible for employers to stay abreast of the status of employee driving licences.

The reality is that people get behind the wheel when they are not legally allowed to do so. The electronic driver licence check is meant to protect employers against such scenarios.

Sources:

Tyrone Times – http://www.tyronetimes.co.uk/news/probation-for-driver-with-multiple-licences-1-8210438

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Driving Test Changes Coming in December

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, October 20, 2017

We are now less than two months away from the most significant driving test changes we have seen in decades. Beginning in December, the driving test that learners must pass to get a car licence will be more attuned to real-world driving than it has been in the past. Lots of changes are in store for new drivers. Some things will not change though, including things that can result in the loss of a licence and the electronic licence checks employers use to keep track of such things.

The current driving test was one that was developed decades ago based on the traffic conditions and technology of the day. Both the government and safe driving advocacy groups believed it was time for change, so they set about developing a new driving test to bring the skills assessment into the 21st century. According to the Independent, the new driving test has been used on a trial basis to prove its effectiveness. To date, 4,500 learner drivers and 850 instructors have worked with it.

What Is Changing

The new driving test effective from 4th December introduces new skills while also laying aside some skills the government no longer believes to be necessary. For example, four in five learners will have to demonstrate they can drive safely with the aid of a sat nav device. The device will be provided and programmed by the instructor as part of the test.

Learner drivers will also have to demonstrate a bit more knowledge of their vehicles through a 'show me, tell me' demonstration. They will have to prove they can do things like check their brakes, check headlights and tail lights, and measure tyre pressure.

As for things that aren't changing, the Independent says that the test will still take about 40 minutes to complete. The passing mark will also remain unchanged.

Things drivers can do to lose their licences in the future will not change either. As such, regular licence checks will still be an important part of employing drivers of all licence classes. Employers will still have access to licence checks utilising the same processes they utilise now.

Changes are coming to the driving test from December. Hopefully, the new test's focus on real-world driving will make the roads safer by guaranteeing drivers with new licences are fully prepared to drive in the evolving age of technology.

Sources:

Independent – http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/driving-test-changes-new-uk-december-what-are-they-show-me-tell-me-questions-satnav-a7990046.html

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Driving Licence App Being Tested by DVLA

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, October 13, 2017

A group of select employees from the DVLA spent this past September testing the prototype of a smartphone app that will allow drivers to keep a digital representation of their driving licences on their phones. The government has said that their goal is to have the app ready for mass distribution by early 2018. Exactly how beneficial it will be to drivers remains to be seen.

Plans for the mobile app were first announced by the DVLA back in May. In his announcement, chief executive Oliver Morley intimated that the impetus behind the app was to make sure drivers were never without legal identification. Assuming that people will forget their plastic driving licences before their smartphones, allowing them to keep a digital copy of their licences on their phones would increase the chances that they would never be without proper ID.

A more recent report published by the Sun suggests there might be more to the smartphone app than just simple ID. The government is now saying that drivers will have access to their own driver data through the app, even when not connected to the Internet. Data would be stored on a driver's phone in the same way electronic payment apps store credit card information.

Benefits to Commercial Drivers

The Sun report also seems to suggest that drivers will be able to share their personal data with third parties through the smartphone app. If this is true, there may be some limited benefits to commercial drivers who may have to furnish data to their employers, in addition to those employers running electronic licence checks.

If the app turns out to be everything it is purported to be, it could streamline some aspects of carrying a driving licence and using it as legal ID. It will not change the need for employers to run electronic licence checks, but it will make it easier for professional drivers to supply their employers with personal data relating to their licence histories.

The only downside to the plan seems to be one of security. But security concerns are the norm these days. Hopefully the government will find a way to make the smartphone app highly useful and secure at the same time. Assuming they can pull it off, people will probably start registering for the service as soon as the app goes live in 2018.

Sources:

Sun – https://www.thesun.co.uk/motors/4440965/dvla-driving-licence-app-being-tested-this-month-and-it-could-be-on-your-smartphone-by-next-year/

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Thousands of Lost Driving Licences Create Security Risk

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, September 15, 2017

Imagine sending in for your driving licence to be returned, only to find it never arrives in the post. Not only would you have to apply for a replacement, but there would also be a nagging concern that the original card wound up in the hands of someone who would use the personal information it contains to steal your identity. Unfortunately, such a scenario is not made up. It is all too real for thousands of British motorists.

According to a 6th September story published by The Sun Online, up to 2,000 driving licences sent to drivers by way of second class post have been lost over the last two years. The government has had to issue 13 replacement licences per week to make up for the losses. Compared to the total number of licences issued every year, 2,000 seems minor by comparison. But the problem is that those licences contain sensitive personal information. They even contain signatures that can be easily forged.

According to the Sun, the government continues to use second class post instead of the more secure 'signed for' delivery option. Their report went on to speculate that fraudsters could be stealing information off driving licences and either selling it online or using it to perpetrate fraud themselves.

Treat Driving Licences like Gold

Our mission of providing real-time licence checks to UK employers doesn't do much to help drivers whose licences may have been lost or stolen, but we have been in this business long enough to know that drivers should be treating their driving licences like gold.

The Sun reported that more than 1,700 of the cases dealt with over the last two years involved licences being returned to drivers who had temporarily lost them due to violations or too many points. The lesson here is pretty straightforward: don't do anything to jeopardise your licence. Once you have it, protect it just the same as you would a credit card or a pile of cash.

As an employer, you have a responsibility to make sure your drivers have valid licences before they take your company cars or vans to the streets. Real-time licence checks are one tool for making that happen. Checking licences keeps you up-to-date on all your drivers and protects you from liability by giving you the opportunity to remove drivers whose licences are no longer valid.

Sources:

The Sun – https://www.thesun.co.uk/motors/4398585/you-could-be-at-risk-of-id-fraud-as-almost-2000-driving-licences-are-lost-in-the-post-in-two-years/

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