If you drive for a living or have access to a company car for commuting or site visits, then you’ve probably been asked by your employer to provide your licence details. Although many employers keep their drivers’ details on file in case of an insurance claim, there are other reasons why they might want to run a check on your driving licence too.
The most common reason why employers want to run driving licence checks is for insurance purposes. Just as we have to disclose points for speeding or going through a red light when we apply for insurance for our own cars, corporate insurers will want to know too. Around 10% of UK drivers have points on their licence, and if an insurer thinks that you’ve got form for speeding or careless driving, then the premium charged to your employer will be higher. There will also usually be some sort of clause in your car paperwork or employment contract saying that you’re also obliged to tell your employer if you rack up any more points on your licence, whether in the company van or your own private car.
The other main reason for checking your licence details is ensuring that you are entitled to drive the type of vehicles the company owns. This has changed over time; for example anyone who passed their test before 1st January 1997 is allowed to drive vehicles and trailers up to 8,250kg, but people who passed after that date can only drive up to 3,500kg. This could be relevant for companies operating vans which are larger than the standard transit. Haulage firms and coach companies might also want to check that the people assuring them that they have a HGV licence are actually qualified to drive lorries.
How Checks Are Done
Firstly, employers are not allowed to run checks on employees’ details without their permission. Therefore, if you’re asked to bring in your photocard driving licence or to supply the number, ask what they are going to do with the data. It’s easy to check someone’s driving licence details online and the DVLA will provide information about the classes of vehicles which they are allowed to drive as well as details of any current points. In order to do the checks, you’ll need the driving licence number of the person concerned, and a “check code” which they have to generate themselves on the government website. This code can then be used with your details one time only to allow employers and other organisations such as car hire companies to check your licence.
The check will reveal firstly whether or not someone is a UK driving licence holder, and has not been banned. Checks can only be run for licences issued in the UK, so if your prospective employee has a licence issued elsewhere, the best course of action is to encourage them to take a UK test as soon as possible. Checks will also show whether the applicant has points on their licence, and what those points were for.