The one-year anniversary of the abolition of the paper counterpart must drive additional security and efficiency for online licence checking.

A number of initiatives have helped fleets following the removal of the counterpart document on 8 June 2015, however further features are needed.

Fleets and third-party licence checking providers can now check licences in real-time, through the Access to Driver Data (ADD) system and further improvements are ongoing, with the overall speed and efficiency of checks having improved greatly, along with the ability to verify larger amounts of data at the same time.

But further innovations such as Driver Certificate of Professional Competence and Tachograph card number expiry are required in order to generate a better compliance profile of each driver, says Malcolm Maycock, managing director of Licence Bureau. “Despite making huge progress in the last year, more still needs to be done, in terms of driver data security, such as the View/Share Driver Record process and ensuring consent has been obtained and the process has been audited. Drivers should also be able to see who has viewed their record and when.”

One of the biggest industry issues is with licence checking frequency. With the introduction of the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) and Van Excellence with the Freight Transport Association, twice-yearly checking has been recommended as a minimum. Licence Bureau said it believes, as endorsed by the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, a recommendation of at least four times a year, thus maintaining the latest driver information.

In the longer term, Licence Bureau is also calling for additional enhancements to the data of those drivers who have provided consent for their licences to be checked. This includes any notifications for a driver to contact the DVLA regarding any issues, in addition to greater access to prospective driver information, for those who reside outside the UK.

“A culture of frequently checking licences must be instilled across the entire industry. With a constant fall in the cost of licence checks, there’s no excuse for not doing more regular checks in real-time. The process needs to be performed as often as it is affordable and practicable,” added Maycock.

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