Category: Advice for HR Teams

Team back from furlough? Don’t forget to check their licences

More employees are returning to the workplace – some for the first time in months, as the UK lockdown continues to ease. Licence Link urges employers to take precautions before returning team members to the road again – a simple licence check can save getting stung.

During the furlough period, many businesses temporarily paused their routine licence checks for absent team members. It’s important to be aware of any driving convictions incurred, affecting their licence, before staff return. Failure to check could result in devastating consequences for a business.

From clocking points for a speeding ticket to more serious convictions, if an employee fails to disclose a change to their licence, their employer could face penalties. This includes insurance exemptions (above a certain level of points), driver downtime (loss of licence) or even breaking the law. Failure to check can result in hefty fines, or worse.

Over 2.8 million motoring offences were issued in 2018 and 2019* alone. Although the pandemic will have affected this volume for 2020/1, it clearly shows that motoring offences are not a rarity – so they should be anticipated. Employers are naive if they fail to take precautions as part of their duty of care, they must ensure the safety of other road users and essentially cover their backs.

Melvin Jeffers, Sales and Customer Relations Leader at Licence Link explains:

“As a business, your staff are your responsibility – why risk it? With Licence Link, each check costs less than a cup of coffee. We return the results in real-time, so there’s no delay when it comes to getting your team back on the road. It couldn’t be easier.”

For businesses with drivers yet-to-return from furlough, don’t forget to check licences before employees take to the wheel – it could save your business thousands.

Do future drivers fit the bill beyond their CV?

Good fit for the team? Got the qualifications? Questions like this are commonly asked when interviewing. Although… did you check the driving licence? According to Licence Link, employers often overlook driver licence checking during interview stage which can result in extra costs, driver downtime and even breaking the law.

Fleet and HR Managers should be taking precautions when hiring to save time and money in the long-term, by incorporating licence checks before offering a job. Candidates may hold back information if not asked to take a licence check, and if an employee commits a driving offence whilst holding a critical level of points, this can have serious consequences for a business.

Refer to your insurance policy! It’s often outlined that drivers mustn’t exceed a certain level of points, meaning a business could face legal consequences – in addition to invalidating their policy. It is also critical to ensure candidates have the right licence for the role. Candidates claiming to have driven a Category C vehicle could have mistaken it for a C1 – a vital error, capable of invalidating insurance. Melvin Jeffers, Sales and Customer Relations leader at Licence Link explains:

“It’s your duty as a business to ensure all drivers have a valid licence, right for the job. Regardless of the CV or candidate, checking their licence beforehand safeguards your business. Why risk the consequences when each check costs less than a coffee?” 

Licence Link helps businesses stay on top of compliance, with results returned in real-time, making it a quick and easy process:

It saves time and provides the relevant information we need to fulfil roles successfully and efficiently” explains Licence Link customer at Cheshire West & Chester Borough Council.

Licence checking should be part of the hiring process, ideally followed by regular maintenance checks. You wouldn’t buy a dangerous car so why hire someone who puts your business at risk? It’s a small price to pay!

Get clued up on the latest rules to reduce risk

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:

Motorways

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.

Get in touch to see how your fleet business could benefit.

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