Slow driving licence renewals by the DVLA are taking drivers out of circulation and leaving already-stretched fleets with further reduced resources, FleetCheck is reporting.
The fleet software company says that it is hearing from across its user base and elsewhere that the issue is especially affecting vocational licence renewals where drivers are notifying the authorities of new medical conditions for the first time.
Peter Golding, managing director, said: “Every time a truck or bus driver wants to renew their licence, they have to undergo a thorough medical by a doctor and any new conditions notified. This might be something as common as high blood pressure. The DVLA will then assess this change for safety before granting a licence renewal.
“This appears to be where the hold-ups are occurring, with 4-8 week delays not being untypical, we are being told. There is a provision in the Road Traffic Act called section 88 that allows drivers to carry on working in these conditions but, in the real world, there is a significant question mark over whether this is covered by standard fleet insurance. In the end, it appears that most fleets are deciding not to take the risk.”
Peter said that, as a result, drivers awaiting renewal are often being placed on yard duties or simply told to go home until the DVLA process is completed and a notification received.
“For fleets that are already badly stretched by high demand for services at the same time as experiencing driver shortages in the wake of Brexit, this is a very definite problem. They simply can’t afford to be losing drivers for a month or longer.
“There is no obvious solution other than perhaps applying for licence renewals much earlier than they are technically needed. It appears to be simply a case of waiting for the DVLA to work through a backlog that has now been in place for some time.”