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.


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.


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

 Read More

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.


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

 Read More

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.


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/

 Read More

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.


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/

 Read More

Do Driving Licence Points Really Mean Anything?

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, August 25, 2017

The average driver fears a violation that could result in points being added to his or her driving licence. That's the way it should be. The point system is supposed to be a deterrent against the kinds of behaviours we deem unsafe. A driver who accumulates multiple points has demonstrated that he or she cannot be trusted. Yet there is a problem: thousands of drivers are still being allowed to drive even after accumulating more than 12 points. Read More

Licence Checks in the Era of Driverless Cars

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, August 11, 2017

To take the news media at their word would be to assume that the era of driverless cars is at the doorstep. It's not, as explained by a July story from the BBC. Still, there is that bothersome issue of driving licences at such time as driverless cars and trucks do become the norm. Will we still need licences? If so, what purpose will these serve? Read More

Poor Vision: A Growing Problem Among British Drivers

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, July 28, 2017

If you need yet another reason to be concerned about the fitness of those who drive your company vehicles, look no further than eyesight. That's right; new research just released by Vision Express suggests that millions of British drivers could be getting behind the wheel despite having inadequate eyesight. If correct, the research also suggests that those drivers are endangering others needlessly. Read More

Survey: Drivers Want Even Tougher Tests for Learners

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, July 14, 2017

How many of us have waxed lyrical about what it was like to get a driving licence back in the 'good old days'? It seems many of us have forgotten the pressure we faced as we sat next to the tester hoping and praying we did not make a critical mistake that would send us home without that coveted licence. So much so, in fact, that drivers responding to a recent survey are in favour of even tougher tests for learners. Read More

How Allergy Medicine Could Affect Your Licence

Posted by: Fleet Licence Check - Friday, June 23, 2017

As an employer, you could conduct real-time licence checks on your drivers only to discover that one of them has a history of impaired driving. But what does that mean? Was that driver caught behind the wheel after drinking or taking illicit drugs? Possibly. But it could also mean something a lot more innocent. The incident in question could have been nothing more than driving after taking allergy medicine. Read More