Author: Pinewood

Reflection – Pointing the Way Ahead.

Taking a moment to reflect on all of the changes that have taken place during the past year can point the way ahead for changes for the new. Licence Link introduced exciting new improvements to its service in 2019. Let’s take a review of the year and then see where 2020 will lead us.

The three in one licence checking service, Driving Licence, Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) and Digital Tachograph cards directly with the DVLA already provided a huge benefit for clients using Licence Link. Adding free of charge value whenever the DVLA provided additional features has proved to be a major contributor to the success of the service. The other major contributor being changes and enhancements driven by the desire for better and speedier efficiencies.

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The Licence Link Application Programming Interface (API).

Licence Link the online Driving Licence, CPC and Tacho Card checking service can be accessed by web sites or software systems through the Licence Link Application Programming Interface (API).

The service is already being used by many businesses and organisations within both the public and private sectors. Testimonials show just how well it is received. Having provided driving licence checking via the DVLA for a decade and being an ADLV approved operator, the service is also available to use and be offered from within other branded products.

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Electronic Driver Approval For Driving Licence Checking.

The responsibility of ensuring that a driver is entitled and safe to drive on behalf of their employer lies squarely with the employer. However, in order to check a driving licence with the DVLA, the holder must give their approval. With Licence Link’s electronic declaration feature, approval can be obtained with very little administration and time.

Imagine having a thousand employed drivers. Getting approval from all drivers for driving licence checking would then seem a hugely daunting task. Where do you begin? Is there enough time in the day to get to grips with this additional duty? But what would you say if you were told that it could be accomplished in less than a month with little impact on normal day to day administrative duties?

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The GDPR, Driving Licence Checking and the Benefits of Licence Link.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) had a huge impact on employers with employed drivers when implemented by the DVLA on the 25th May 2018. On the same day, Licence Link, the online Driving Licence, CPC and Tacho card checking service deployed all of the GDPR requisites. This benefitted their clients tremendously. What other beneficial features does Licence Link provide?

It is always a good practice to reflect upon how best to improve efficiencies and working practices. Getting the best out of a software solution necessitates keeping up with the improved services that it offers. With the introduction of the GDPR Licence Link introduced features that made the transition to the new legislation less burdensome, but also enabled clients to improve ongoing efficiencies with enhanced features for CPC and Tacho detail interrogation, linking driver associations, and faster more effective driver approval.

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Local Authorities and Protecting the Public.

Until recently Local Authorities were able to check driving licences using the DVLA’s Driving Licence Checking (DLC) service. This was decommissioned on the 1st of December 2018. With responsibilities for many services that involve the use of vehicles this online service was essential in order to ensure that drivers were licenced, entitled and above all safe to perform their driving duties.

Services such as Waste Collection, Social Care, Fire and Public safety and the licencing of drivers of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles, for example, have to continue. So too is the legal obligation to reduce and remove identified risk from any duty that involves the use of a local authority vehicle or a vehicle that has been licenced for hire.

In order to help with the replacement of the DLC and the procurement process, Licence Link, the online Driving Licence, CPC and Tacho Cards checking service, with a track record with existing Public and Local Authorities, can ease the transition from DLC to a service that offers so much more.

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Company Vehicles and Nominated Additional Drivers.

It is common practice to check the driving licences for vocational and company car drivers in order to ensure compliance with duty of care requirements. Grey Fleet drivers are also beginning to be assessed in the same way. But there is another category of driver that sometimes gets overlooked. This means that for some businesses and organisations there is a hidden risk that is not being addressed.

Many company vehicles are provided to employees where personal use is permitted. For 2016/17 there were 940,000 drivers paying BIK tax. If taking a nominal 12% of that figure it means that there are close to 113,000 drivers that should be validated for an entitlement to drive. This implies that all of the licence, age and driving experience requirements considered for an employee should also be applied to a nominated non-employee before approval to drive is given. But does this happen?

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Diabetes, Cataracts, Obstructed Sleep Apnoea and Fatigue.

Medical conditions have been reviewed in the last year in the light of an entitlement to drive privately and vocationally. Each condition brings with it the necessity to understand how each one impacts upon the reactiveness of a driver.

Diabetes UK (via the DVLA), have for some time (since 2011) been trying to change a European Union directive that when introduced, caused many drivers to lose their driving licence. The Association of Optometrists (AOP) have been advising the DVLA in consideration for new guidelines concerning drivers with only mild bilateral cataracts. The OSA (Obstructed Sleep Apnoea) Partnership Group, working with healthcare professionals and with the DVLA, have been instrumental in the introduction of new guidelines for drivers suffering from OSA. Regarding self-inflicted fatigue, the Freight Transport Association, have welcomed new DVSA powers that now enable the enforcement authorities to take serious action upon vocational drivers that repeatedly ignore the drivers’ hours rules within the Working Time Directive.

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The Importance of Renewing Expired Mandates.

Drivers that previously gave consent for driving licence checking prior to the 25th of August 2018, are now required to renew their approval under the DVLA’s new GDPR regulations. Failure to do so prevents their employers from doing ongoing driving licence, CPC and Tacho Card checks.

Previously drivers gave consent for licence checking by filling in, signing and dating the D796 mandate form. This was required under the Data Protection Act of 1998. The mandate was valid for three years from the signature date. However, due to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation on the 25th of May 2018 all such mandates expired on the 25th of August 2018 under the three month grace period set by the DVLA. So why is it of such importance to renew expired mandates?

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Twelve Months – Three Notable Changes.

Within the last twelve months, there have been three notable changes for learner drivers and motorway users. The driving test has been updated to include additional practical requirements. Motorways can now be accessed by learner drivers and additional motorway misuse penalties have been introduced.

The changes to the driving test have been introduced in order to increase the experience and help prepare novice drivers for the everyday driving conditions of the modern day roads. In particular, and as stated by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the changes will help to reduce the number of casualties and injuries of young novice drivers where they are seven times more at risk than those aged over 25.

Allowing learner drivers onto the motorways, when they are close to their test is also seen as necessary. Especially since the introduction of Smart motorway traffic management methods using variable speed limits and enabling the use of the hard shoulder as a running lane. It is vital that all drivers understand how to use a Smart motorway and follow the rules. Unfortunately, the new rules are either not understood or ignored by some drivers.

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Transparent Detail – Driving Licence, DQC and Driver Cards

In 2017, the DVLA made Driver Qualification Card and Tachograph Driver Card information available to Licence Link’s online Driving Licence Checking service. Passing this on as a new additional free of charge service has been keenly adopted by Licence Link clients.

The comments below from existing clients just shows how valuable this service has been for driving compliancy and reduced administration:

 The introduction of Driver CPC & Digital Tachograph Card Details to Licence link, the on line checking service has allowed me to have a safe and efficient means of ensuring that we are operating fully compliant at all times. This service has removed a number of administrative duties which has allowed more time for other tasks to be carried out.

We want Licence Link to continue with our licence checking as this system is perfect for our peace of mind on compliance. Licence Link provides real time checking of compliance which includes driver CPC and Digital Tachograph cards.

CPC checking helps us to see the expiry of the card and monitor that going forward. No more asking everyone to have their card copied and admin needing to update a spread sheet and keep it updated.

These experiences are reflective of many of the businesses and organisations using Licence Link and involved with ensuring that their vocation drivers are fully entitled to drive for work related activities.

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