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Check your drivers’ licences.

Company directors risk corporate manslaughter and health and safety charges, with unlimited fines and publicity orders every time an illegal driver gets behind the wheel, warns Malcolm Maycock.

UK DRIVERS ARE facing increasing danger on the roads as thousands of workers are driving illegally.

Based on the thousands of checks that it carries out every week, Licence Bureau, the UK’s leading authority on driver qualifications, estimates that there are 24,000 people driving illegally for companies in Britain today. During 2011 Licence Bureau found that on average one in every 300 licences were invalid.
These statistics are shocking as it has been estimated that up to a third of all road traffic incidents involve somebody who is at work at the time. This may account for more than 20 fatalities and 250 serious injuries every week.
Licence Bureau, which verifies driving licences on behalf of businesses, discovered that of the non-compliant drivers that they checked: 43 per cent were driving on a provisional licence, 31 per cent were on a revoked licence and nine per cent were disqualified.
In addition, a freedom of information request submitted by Licence Bureau to the DVLA also revealed that there were a total of 652,380 drivers in the UK with either disqualified or revoked licences. This substantial figure represents nearly two per cent of the driver records held at DVLA.
I’m on record as saying that driving is the most dangerous activity that most employees undertake as part of their working day. Time and time again we see drivers that have made false statements to their employers about their licences. When you consider the number of hours and number of miles a person does when driving for business you can understand why we say that the ‘road risk’ is magnified by five-fold.
We want all companies based in the UK to help play a part in making the nation’s roads a safer place by checking the validity of their drivers’ documents. In the long run they will be protecting their business interest as well as protecting the safety of others.

Licence checking Q&A

Q 24,000 is a lot of illegal drivers. How have you calculated the number?

A At Licence Bureau we find on average three in every 1,000 company drivers are illegal. Using the University of Buckingham’s figure of eight million people driving for work, we calculated that each day there could be 24,000 illegal drivers on the road. This figure is a fair estimate. If you consider the DVLA figures, two per cent of its driver records are of disqualified or revoked licences.

Q Why is driving for work more dangerous?

A Workers who drive are spending more hours and covering more miles on the road than any other drivers so they are at a higher risk of having or causing an accident.

Q Do these figures include commuters?

A No, they don’t. The figures look specifically at people driving as part of their working day.

Q What happens to a driver who is driving illegally when you identify them?

A This varies from company to company but in many cases the employee will be suspended.

Q What are the consequences for corporates?

A Employers are responsible by law for ensuring road safety and they can now be prosecuted. In fact, British companies now face corporate manslaughter charges. We also strongly believe companies have a corporate social responsibility to help ensure the safety of the UK’s roads.

Q What should companies and corporates do?

A They should ensure that they have a comprehensive transport policy and ensure that all drivers have a valid licence.

 

Malcolm Maycock is chief executive at the Licence Bureau.

 

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