Managing a fleet is potentially hazardous. Safety legislation is getting tougher and tougher all the time, and as such, employers can face fines for serious health and safety offences, especially if they cannot demonstrate rigorous internal safety procedures if an accident occurs.

Using FleetCheck Driver walkaround check app can help improve your fleet’s safety procedures, by ensuring the vehicle is fit for the road, but you should check an employee’s driving licence at least once a year and we advise you to file a signed copy when an employee starts working for your organisation, then update this file every time you check their licence.

While we recommend you check licences once a year, it might be a good idea to check licences more regularly if drivers have accumulated points, or introduce certain thresholds – for example, some companies check drivers with a certain number of points on a more regular basis.

How can I check someone’s licence online?

You can check someone’s driving licence information via the government website.

You’ll need the last eight characters of their driving licence number and a check code from them. This is only suitable for one-off checks as you can’t use this method when keeping track of a large fleet.

How can I check a large number of driver’s licences?

The DVLA has a service called the Access to Driver Data (ADD) service. ADD enables employers and businesses to check driver records and obtain the information instantly. It’s an expensive service with approximate coss of £20,000 or more.

However, FleetCheck supply Driver Licence checking solutions that integrate with your FleetCheck account.

Does checking driving licences online breach data protection laws?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has confirmed with the Association of Fleet Professionals, the body responsible for fleet decision-makers, that no offence under the Data Protection Act is committed when employers check employees’ driving licence records with the DVLA. You can either request to see an employee’s driving licence, give your employees a mandate to sign giving you permission to check their records, or lawfully do so without their knowledge.

How important is it to check your drivers’ licences?

Regular licence checks are crucial for organisations of all sizes to ensure ongoing compliance. You should have procedures in place and written down for employee reference. You can set flags with your fleet management software to remind you when to check an individual’s licence.

Why do employers check driving records?

The main reason is to ensure the member of staff is legally entitled to drive the type of vehicle allocated to them. It would be nice if we lived in a world where we could ask drivers or rely on them to inform us what vehicles they can drive when points are added to their licence or changes of address.

Unfortunately, it’s quite the opposite. In 2017, the RAC carried out an insurance survey and found that 25% of motorists with penalty points on their licence did not tell their employers when they received them. The motoring organisation also discovered that only 13% of those surveyed would voluntarily tell their employers when and if they incur any points.

What are the implications for not keeping up-to-date licence checks?

If a driver is involved in a serious road accident and it’s found that they were not lawfully entitled to be driving that vehicle, their employer can be held liable, at least in part. This can result in millions in fines, as well as other forms of civil court actions.

In plain terms, the Road Traffic Act 1988 clearly states that it’s an offence for a driver to drive without a valid licence. The Act also states it’s an offence for a person or organisation to permit a driver to drive without a valid licence. Having a robust system in place to check drivers’ licenses will help you catch someone without a valid licence. This will help prevent issues, which can ultimately save lives. As well as giving you a legal defence should the worst-case scenario happen.