“The new driver licence checking system to be introduced by the DVLA this summer - will not meet businesses’ needs,” is the warning from the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
As of 8 June this year – the Government is abolishing the paper counterpart that currently accompanies all UK photocard licences.
FTA’s Chief Executive – David Wells has written to the Driver Licencing Agency’s CEO - Oliver Morley telling him that the new online system will make driver licence checking extremely difficult for freight operators, and needs to be reconsidered as a matter of urgency.
The FTA has previously voiced its concerns over the system, and reminded the DVLA Chief Executive that as a fundamental part of their statutory undertakings, freight operators have to check their drivers’ licences several times a year.
Commenting on the proposed DVLA licence checking system, David Wells said: “Freight operators - which employ hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of professional drivers have a legal obligation to check licences on a regular basis. FTA is not convinced that the proposed online checking system will be robust enough to cope with industry demands.
Mr Wells continued: “Despite FTA staff liaising with the DVLA to realise the commitment by the Agency to provide an on-line alternative which businesses’ need, we believe that the system which is to be introduced in June simply does not deliver that commitment, and would make licence checking for our members extremely difficult.”
Within his correspondence to Mr Morley – David Wells also outlined several issues that FTA has with the proposed system, stating that the driving licence counterpart represents the main tool for checking the entitlement of professional drivers.
A recent FTA/ DVLA working group exercise – carried out in order to understand how much reliance was placed on the driving licence counterpart, confirmed that 94% of respondents relied on a physical check, either separately or as part of a process which involved either telephone or external checking.
David Wells concluded: “On behalf of our members FTA has also written to the Department for Transport, the Traffic Commissioners and to the DVSA requesting that they do not enforce the licence-check requirement until such time as the Government provides a suitable means of doing so.”