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Licence checks still vital for new drivers during coronavirus response

Licence Check has issued latest advice to fleets regarding vital licence checking services, covering the latest changes in regulations under coronavirus.

Terry Hiles, general manager, Licence Check, warns that special precautions may be warranted for ‘onboarding’ new drivers during the outbreak

The driver risk management specialist warns that with many businesses taking on new drivers in the current crisis, it remains vital to check their licences before assigning them drivers’ contracts. However, this must be done in as safe as way as possible, mindful of current social distancing advice. The same is true for charities or locally sponsored initiatives using volunteer drivers.

While the DVLA’s driver licence sharing service is still active during the current pandemic, Licence Check warns that third-party licence checking services may need to have their normal induction processes modified and rules adapted.

Currently, Licence Check’s most popular and regularly used method of adding drivers to the system is its e-approval process, which only requires the company to add the driver’s name and email address into the DAVIS fleet management solution. The system then emails drivers remotely until permission for a check to be carried out is gained by a digital driver declaration. The check can be completed without the parties coming into contact and negates any cross-contamination risk.

However, where a driver cannot use the e-approval method, or is required to attend the workplace for onboarding, special precautions may be warranted. Licence Check has issued guidance on its face-to-face onboarding method by proposing that businesses may want to produce fair processing documentation in the form of laminated cards so they can be wiped down with sterilising wipes after each driver has handled them.

The company also warns that fleets still need to check on a driver’s entitlement to drive, despite temporary changes in professional driver qualification requirements.

The Department for Transport has temporarily relaxed Driver CPC regulations – meaning those drivers whose card expires in the period from 1 March to 30 September are allowed to continue using the expired card until October. In response, Licence Check is amending its systems to take into account the new rulings, and will not flag up urgent warnings or perform automatic re-checks for expired cards until after 1 October.

But the company says licence checks still remain vital to ensure drivers are licensed for particular classes of vehicle – this is especially the case as many firms are now hastily recruiting new delivery drivers in sectors such as food and parcel distribution.

General manager Terry Hiles said: “The new relaxation of the DQC rules does not excuse the obligation to check driving licences to ensure drivers remain entitled to drive the class of vehicle they are using. The same applies to new drivers who are about to drive for the business for the first time.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has nearly 20 years of fleet journalism experience, 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.

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