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Running truck licence checks on company drivers is standard operating procedure for companies in the haulage business. Yet it is a procedure that is now more difficult thanks to the loss of the paper counterpart. In response, one haulage industry organisation is calling on the Government to rethink its plans for completing licence checks.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the new government system is entirely inadequate for commercial needs. They fear that some drivers could report to work, only to be sent home because employers could not verify their credentials. Not only is this unfair to the drivers themselves, but it will exacerbate the current driver shortage by keeping otherwise qualified drivers off the road.

The Problem

The problem that haulage industry companies are now facing is a direct result of the Government not living up to its promises. There was supposed to be an electronic licence-checking scheme in place by the time the paper counterpart was abolished, allowing employers online access to the DVLA database. That system has yet to be opened for use. Instead, employers have one of two options: contact the DVLA by telephone or ask for a driver’s participation to work through the system intended for non-commercial drivers.

In the case of the former option, calling the DVLA telephone number rarely results in immediate success. There are long waits that make using this method impractical for employers. Where the latter option is chosen, employers must instruct drivers to contact the DVLA to obtain a 72-hour access number. The number can then be given to the employer for the purposes of checking the licence. If the number is not used within 72 hours, the process must be repeated.

It should be evident to anyone who follows the haulage and transport industries that the current options open to employers are unacceptable. Too much time and effort now have to be put into a task that, if the Government were living up to its promises, would only take minutes online. The FTA says that now is the time to fix the problem by giving employers mandated authority to check driving licences on-demand. They also need to be given access to the DVLA database as soon as possible.

Purpose of Licence Checking

You might be wondering why licence checking is so important to employers. Simply put, it is a matter of liability. An employer assumes a worker’s truck licence has the proper endorsements and is free from significant penalties and points. Employers need to know this so that they are not putting unqualified drivers on the road. Without the information, they could be exposing themselves to liability in the event that a driver has an accident.

While the DVLA attempts to work out the problems with its new system, we encourage you to contact the HGV Training Centre for more information about earning a truck licence. We have the training you need to pass your tests and start looking for work.


  1. Commercial Fleet – http://www.commercialfleet.org/news/latest-news/2015/06/08/fta-urges-government-to-rethink-approach-to-licence-checking


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