The Association for Driving Licence Verification (ADLV) reported earlier this month that driving licence checks carried out by fleets have risen 30.4% year-on-year.
According to Freedom of Information figures seen by the ADLV, fleet licence checks currently stand at 2.35 million, but the growth in checks is predicted to continue, and is expected to rise to three million by March 2017.
This is seen as a positive move by fleets as it shows they are encouraging greater transparency and they are prepared to put every precaution in place to ensure that their drivers are actually safe and experienced enough to be on our roads.
The greater availability of data online is thought to have facilitated the rise in licence checks, alongside other factors such as the promotion of the “Know Your Driver” strategy, which is designed to minimise the risk of fraud and misuse of the system. It also allows companies to be certain they are complying with the law in who they are employing, by having knowledge of the backgrounds of their drivers.
Licence checks for fleet drivers are performed electronically by a professional third party who are providing a fully managed service, and it is anticipated that quarterly checks of fleet drivers will become the norm.
The move has been largely welcomed by both the industry and the ADLV. The Chairman of the ADLV, Richard Payne Gill, expressed his positive feelings, saying, “The growth in volume is highly encouraging as it reflects that electronic checking... has now become a ‘best practice’ with full reporting and audit trails included. There has also been a rise in the breadth of data now that is being combined with licence information, and we are also confident that other databases are likely to become available too including tacho and CPC data for the UK haulier sector.”
These additional data sources are of great importance because they offer proof that drivers are not in breach of UK or EU law by how many hours they have been on the road without taking a break. Currently some drivers attempt to subvert the system, putting the lives of other road users at risk.
The move towards more thorough and regular checks of fleet drivers is expected to benefit not just fleet operators, who are likely to see an increase in efficiency and professionalism amongst their drivers, but also for all UK road users, as weeding out incompetent, unqualified and law-breaking drivers will lead to improvements in road safety.