Employers in the UK, whether an individual or large or small business, who expect their workers to drive during the course of their employment, must comply with the necessary legal requirements. This guidance aims to outline the key steps to take when checking employees’ driving licences and provides an overview of the rules for driving in the UK.
We recommend that you set expectations at the start of employment by including in your Induction a topic such as: “Driving the employer’s vehicle and driving your own vehicle on the employer’s business”.
If it is essential that your employee drives as part of their job role, this must be stated in their contract. The employee must be made aware of the consequences should they be disqualified from driving. If they are disqualified, how will it affect their job role? Before any action is taken consult with an HR professional or employment law solicitor.
It is important to check the status of the driving licence before an employee is permitted to drive the employer’s vehicle to ensure that the insurance is not invalidated.
Where an employee is required to drive extensively during the course of the job role, encourage them to undertake defensive driving courses or other relevant training to enhance their driving skills and safety awareness. You may wish to offer them time off for the training, or even contribute towards the cost of training as part of their development.
In this document we will refer to “employee”, but the guidance applies to people who in employment status are known as “workers”.
Checking the employee’s driving licence
- Obtain consent before checking an employee’s driving licence. It is crucial to obtain their explicit consent. This can be in the form of a signed consent form or an email from the employee.
- Use the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) Electronic Service to check an employee’s driving licence. The system allows employers to verify driving entitlements, penalties and the validity of the licence using the code generated by the employee.
- Verify the photocard. Ensure that the employee holds a valid photocard licence.
- Check the licence categories. Review the driving categories specified on the licence to confirm that the employee is authorised to drive the vehicle they are assigned to.
- Check the address on the licence is the employee’s address that is registered with you
- Check expiry dates regularly to ensure that the licence has not expired. I recommend at least an annual check of the licence.
Rules for driving in the UK
- The Highway Code is the rule book for driving in the UK.
- Employees must be at least 17 years old to drive a car and hold an appropriate driving licence.
- Check your insurance. Many business-use insurances have an age limit restriction. If a driver is under their age restriction, special authority is required and usually premium is paid.
- It is essential that an employee’s driving licence is valid, has not been revoked or disqualified and has not expired.
- Your employee must advise you if they gain any penalty points or disqualifications. Keep a record of these points and disqualifications.
- Ensure that employees who drive the employer’s vehicles are covered by the appropriate insurance policies.
- If your employee drives their own vehicle for business purposes, request evidence of insurance and check regularly. Confirm that their vehicle meets MOT requirements if they are expected to carry a passenger. Many insurances include occasional business use for individuals.
- Encourage employees who are required to drive extensively for their job to undertake defensive driving courses or other relevant training to enhance their driving skills and safety awareness.
As an employer it is vital to follow the guidelines to maintain legal compliance and prioritise the safety of your employees as well as other road users.
Driver risk assessments should be carried out and staff trained. Contact health and safety or other professionals who are competent for further information.
This guidance is for general information and does not constitute legal advice. For specific legal advice do consult a qualified professional.
If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.
T: 01296 761288 or contact us here.
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Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited provide a specialised HR service to the care sector, from recruitment through to exit.