Any business owners may have missed or thought that there was no significance to their business of the recent announcement by the Lord Chancellor reducing the personal injury discount rate from 2.5% to minus 0.75%, effective 20 March 2017.
However, the change is so significant that it will affect all individuals and businesses by increasing insurance premiums for both motor and liability covers.
The irony following recently announced changes to the small claims limit – intended to lower insurance premiums – has not gone unnoticed.
There are imminent changes which will do away with the paper counterpart of the photocard driving licence and affect the ways that critical driver information can be accessed by employers. So what do businesses who employ people who drive for a living need to know?
Driving Licence Changes
From 8 June 2015 the paper counterpart will become invalid (except in Northern Ireland) and the DVLA will cease to issue the paper counterpart with new licences.
The paper counterpart used to provide address details, categories of entitlement and the recording of driving offences and fines and used to be updated to reflect any changes in driver entitlement or penalties. However, this will now no longer happen and businesses will no longer be able to rely on a visual check to ensure that their employees are qualified and legally permitted to take company vehicles on to the road.
So what are the options?
The DVLA have introduced two new developments. The first is called ‘View My Licence’. This facility is designed for the licence holder only and replaces the information that was available to view on the counterpart. Access is restricted only to the licence holder and this service is not designed for use by businesses.
The second option is called ‘Share my Record’ and allows any licence holder to create a “one off” licence check code to share their driving record with a third party, e.g. their employer or a car hire company. This code is unique and valid for 72 hours. This means that an employer can access an individual’s record online to ensure that the driver satisfies all legal and company requirements. More information can be found at www.gov.uk/check-driving-information.
Postal or telephone checking
Businesses can still contact the DVLA for a check, at a cost of £5 per check, or use the call centre service which is payable using a premium rate number. In both cases, the driver’s permission is required.
Businesses must make sure that anyone they employ to drive has the right licence and qualifications. It’s clear that there are cost and time benefits of using the new online system but whatever the method used, we strongly recommend that employers check their drivers’ licences at least every 6 months. If an employee receives a ban and does not disclose this to the employer but continues to use a company car, the company insurance will be invalid and insurers will be able to avoid claims.