Employers who provide company vehicles – or who expect employees to make use of their own – will generally make it an express term of an employee’s contract that, for example:
- the employee must hold a current UK driving licence
- the employee will produce the licence for inspection, on request, and
- the employee will report to the employer any conviction which results in the employee’s licence being endorsed with penalty points or, worse still, the employee being disqualified from driving.
The introduction of the photocard driving licence in 1998 brought with it the problem of
where to record matters such as penalty point information and provisional vehicle entitlements. The paper driving licence counterpart was introduced at the same time to deal with this. However, with the counterpart being abolished on 8 June 2015, how can an employer check that an employee is legally entitled to drive and, for example, can meet an insurance requirement? And how can an employee prove such an entitlement, if challenged?
Although it has always been possible to use the ‘phone, post and some authorised intermediaries, to make these checks, the DVLA correctly reasoned that the current services were likely to be overwhelmed by the need to check driving records which would accompany the abolition of the paper counterpart. The DVLA has therefore introduced a new online service called “Share Driving Licence”.
This service allows a driver to go online and generate a unique, onetime “check code” which they can give to their employer. The employer can then go online and use that check code, along with the last eight digits of the driving licence number, to view the employee’s penalty point record, as well as the types of vehicle which the employee is entitled to drive. The code expires after 72 hours. The online service is available at www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence.
Further information about the changes is available at www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-licence-changes.
Employers with existing contractual provisions or policies in relation to driving would be well-advised to review those contracts and policies and to make any amendments necessary to reflect these changes. For those employers whose contracts make no reference to driving or driving licences, and who do not have a policy in relation to the use of company vehicles or employee owned vehicles, this change ought to act as a prompt to get the necessary paperwork in place.
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