‘What if driver refuses?’

With the advent of the new online driving licence check system, some operators have been checking driver’s licences without their direct permission, because the three required elements (driver number, postcode and national insurance number) are available to all employers. 

However, as an adjunct to a recent driving licence check query, I came across this on the government’s website, which states: “Over the coming months, driving licence holders who use VDL to access their driver details will do so via the new GOV.UK Verify service. GOV.UK Verify is the new way for people to prove who they are when using digital services. The service will authenticate users based on a number of identity questions and allow them to set up a unique account so they can access other government services. In time GOV.UK Verify will become the only way to access VDL.”

The particular driver in question appears to have registered under this scheme already, which prevents his employer from accessing the ‘check your driving licence’.

I believe this additional verification process will re-open a ‘can of worms’ on licence checks yet again! Operators will need to get the driver’s permission to check his licence, but what if the driver refuses, say due to issues about data theft, as in this recent case?

I’ve advised the operator that really it’s an ‘employment contract’ matter, but that licence checks need to be carried out under the Road Traffic Act etc.

While there is no direct law requiring driving licence checks to be carried out, failure to do so can lead to the person holding the O-Licence being personally fined for ‘causing and permitting’, while the Traffic Commissioner will take a very dim view of operators employing drivers who do not hold the appropriate valid class of licence for the vehicle they are driving.

Alec Horner, 

Association of Trainers,

Telscombe Cliff,

East Sussex