The government has put back the abolition of the photocard driving licence counterpart from 1 January 2015 until 8 June this year.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) announced the move on 22 December as it works to develop an online solution for organisations and employers that need to regularly check drivers’ licences.
Businesses that operate commercial vehicles are required under the terms of their operator’s licence to check regularly that all their drivers – including those they do not employ directly, such as agency drivers – hold the proper entitlements to drive the appropriate vehicle and have not been suspended or banned.
In its announcement, the DVLA said it was working on the new digital enquiry services for a launch later this year. It will provide real time access to the information that they can currently see on the photocard driving licence counterpart.
Karen Dee, director of policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: ““FTA knew that the 1 January removal date had been delayed, but we were waiting for an indication of when the driving licence counterpart would actually be abolished.
“We had voiced concerns that the new date would be rushed and would not allow any significant re-development of the systems that businesses were expected to use to carry out critical safety checks on their drivers.
“We look forward to working with DVLA to develop a system which is fit for purpose. FTA members are keen to have electronic solutions to administrative processes – but they have to be right, and they have to make the job easier, quicker and cheaper.”
As well as ensuring that drivers have the correct licence for the vehicles they driver, haulage operators must and that they hold a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DriverCPC).
Driving without a Driver CPC qualification can result in prosecution with a £1,000 maximum penalty for both the driver and the operator and the potential suspension of licences for the driver and the operator.
Palmers’ road traffic team can provide specialist advice and representation to haulage firms dealing with traffic offences, with the aim of defending and preserving licences, wherever possible. For more information, please contact Jeremy Sirrell.