Abolition of the driving licence counterpart – what employers need to know

Abolition of the driving licence counterpart – what employers need to know

From 8th June 2015, DVLA will stop issuing the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence. Any paper counterparts in existence will no longer have any legal status, except for paper driving licences that were issued before 1998*.

After the change takes place, while the driver’s licence shows what type of vehicles they can drive, the driver record held by DVLA will be the only legal source of penalty point endorsements.

Employers have a responsibility and duty of care to ensure that their employees are fully able and capable to drive the vehicles required for their work, so accessing this information will be critical.

According to the Department for Transport, more than a quarter of all road traffic accidents involve someone who is driving on a work-related journey. With that in mind, it is more important than ever for employers to ensure effective management of work-related road safety. Not only can it help reduce risk, but may also result in fewer insurance claims – both leading to improved premium spend and safer, happier employees.

As part of a company’s duties under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, you will need to ensure that your drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them, and other people. Regularly checking employees’ driving licences helps to validate this, so ease of access to the information will be key.

There are three ways that employers can view this data:

  1. An online DVLA portal called View Driving Licence. Here, employees have control over who accesses their data and have to confirm their identity using the Government’s identity assurance solution, ‘Verify’. With a specific time-sensitive access code, employers can be given single-time access to the record within a 72 hour time period. A three part process allows the third party (ie the employer) to view the driver’s licence status, endorsements and which vehicles they can drive. Further information about these changes can be found on the Government’s website.

  2. A third-party secure online driver checking portal, such as GBGroup’s driving licence verification service. With an employee’s three year consent, the employer can receive the individual’s driving licence details. Instant access simplifies the process. The system highlights when there is a mismatch between the driver’s current address and the one held by DVLA; when the period of consent needs to be renewed; and it can be set to receive updates from DVLA on a specific frequency in order to align with your Health & Safety policy – or the driver’s ‘risk’ factor (typically those with higher number of endorsements). Record data can be viewed on-demand, 24/7. Learn more about the difference between the last two processes by viewing an infographic by GBGroup.

  3. A paper copy provided by the employee. Through DVLA’s View Driving Licence system, drivers are able to print pdfs of their record. It has a date stamp and leaves control with the employee, is reflective of that particular moment in time and is also easier to doctor.

Whichever route you choose, the Association of Driving Licence Verification are urging employers to plan ahead. Griffiths & Armour fully endorses that notion and would be happy to support you through the process.

Managing occupational road risk is a fundamental part of an employer’s duty of care and there are many elements to consider when managing fleet safety and developing a fleet safety culture. Our team of Risk Managers together with our online RMworks portal, have the capabilities to assist you through every element of this progression.

* Paper driving licences were always issued up until 1998 when the photocard and paper counterpart came into being. Many people still hold a paper licence, and these are still valid, as they only require to change over to the photocard and counterpart as and when an individual’s name or address are changed or when the licence needs to be renewed (due to age for example). Paper licences will continue to be valid even after the pending change and as such, should not be destroyed.

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