Fleet Licence Check News Blog


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

 Read More


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

 Read More