In the last twelve months, there has been a number of risk-inducing changes for road users. Such changes can increase the risk of collision for drivers or could lead to new endorsements. Failure to identify new penalty points, gained by employees, could result in serious consequences for the employer. Therefore, it’s key these changes (and employee licences, as a result) are carefully monitored.
Here’s a list of the recent changes, and reasons why employers should take note:
Changes to the UK driving test have been introduced to prepare novice drivers for everyday driving conditions. This includes allowing learner drivers onto motorways. It’s vital that all drivers understand how to use a Smart motorway and follow the rules.
Motorway users, including those driving for business purposes, should be attentive to ‘learner’ marked vehicles. These could pose a heightened risk of accidents or damage to company vehicles. Therefore, drivers should take extra precautions when passing or driving nearby these vehicles. Advising employees to be attentive around learner vehicles, and keep adequate stopping distances, could minimise this risk, along with driver downtime and the associated costs involved, in the event of a collision.
The Driving Test
Part of the driving test involves an independent drive, without instruction from the examiner. This has now increased to 20 minutes, and either involves following traffic signs or using instructions from a Sat Nav.
When it comes to reversing, learners could now also be asked to parallel park or to park in a parking bay. Additionally, the driver has to be able to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for approximately the length of two cars and re-join the traffic.
These changes have been criticised by driving examiner members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), over safety concerns. It’s key that drivers are vigilant and provide ample space for learners, when out on the road. Again, advising employees to take extra caution when approaching (or passing) a parked learner vehicle could prevent the risk of an accident, injury or damage to company vehicles.
New Motorway Penalties
Highways England have introduced Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) based cameras, to monitor hard shoulders on smart motorways. However, many drivers fail to understand or abide by the rules, which puts other road users at risk.
Drivers who continue to use the lane when there is a red ‘X’ showing now face automatic penalties, including fines and three points on their Driving Licence. Often, drivers leave the manoeuvre from the closed lane to the last minute. Other drivers panic and try to force through into the open lane, fearing the fine and the points.
Both scenarios can pose a significant danger to other road users, and increase the risk of collision. For this reason, employers may wish to advise their drivers to take extra caution when approaching motorway exits or when merging lanes. This could save the stress, hassle, time, money and injuries which could result.
In Conclusion, have Risk Levels Changed?
Employers are responsible for ensuring that their drivers remain entitled to drive. It’s key for them to stay alert for any legislative changes, as these could increase the risk of new endorsements, impacting the validity of drivers in their team.
Using Licence Link to check driving licences on a frequent basis enables employers to keep on top of higher-risk drivers, or any changes to licences. In effect, this prevents the risk of sending out drivers who may have unknowingly attained (or that do not disclose) new endorsements, and the consequences that result.
The key to minimising risk is to stay ahead. Making employees aware of new changes is helpful. However, to be sure that drivers aren’t breaking the law, it’s essential employers regularly check their teams’ licences. Licence Link removes the hassle and time from this task, enabling employers to check drivers on mass, automate their checking routine and receive results fast.