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Brexit to bring licence checking and driver shortage issues, warn experts

Fleets are being urged to take action on potential issues with licence checking and driver shortages posed by Brexit.

Temporary drivers over the festive period were in high demand, according to driver hire
Licence Bureau has warned of a potential driver shortage post Brexit, particularly in the parcel delivery sector

Speaking last week (27th March 2019) at ACFO’s spring seminar, Malcolm Maycock, managing director of Licence Bureau, urged fleets to be particularly vigilant in respect of European Union driver licence holders complying with UK regulations and potentially either exchanging their licence for a UK one or taking a UK driving test to obtain one.

He also advised fleet managers to not only undertake checks on driver licences to ensure their validity and whether drivers had any convictions, but also to risk-assess foreign driver licence holders and put them through UK familiarisation training.

Maycock also warned of a potential driver shortage, especially in the parcel delivery sector, as a consequence of Brexit with many foreign workers currently considering whether or not to remain in the UK following the UK’s European Union departure – he added that some have already left the country.

A similar warning came from Oliver Waring, managing director of seminar supporter Reflex Vehicle Hire, who warned that many people employed as drivers, valeters and yard staff were from the European Union with some already leaving.

“The opportunity arises to bring in ambitious school leavers and the older generation, who may be retired or semi-retired, as mentors,” he said.

Attendees at the event were also reminded of the need to ensure correct documentation for any drivers heading to Europe. Len Benson, associate director/motor manager at insurance broker Peter Lole & Co and an ACFO member, told fleet managers that if they expected drivers to be abroad after 12th April then a Green Card – an international certificate of insurance – should be applied for from their insurer or broker.

“Fleets may have a blanket insurance certificate but a blanket Green Card is not available. A Green Card is required for every vehicle when driven in a European Union member state and some other countries (Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland) in the event of no-deal Brexit,” he said.

Many fleet managers also have responsibility for corporate travel and Fiona Kail, national account manager at business travel expert Clarity, reminded delegates that it was important that they checked that passports of employees travelling abroad were valid for a further six months after their intended stay.

Visas are not an issue at this stage as even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers will still be able to visit European Union countries without a visa up until the end of 2020. However, after that date the European Commission has said that UK citizens would need to pay a fee of around €7 for a so-called visa exemption, part of a new electronic travel authorisation system applying to all third country visitors to the European Union, similar to the United States of America’s ESTA regime.

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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