Monday, August 10, 2015

Freight Transport and Road Haulage Lobby Helped Amend the Driving Licence Change

Many Operators Still Unaware That New System Has Been Amended
Shipping News Feature

UK – In April we forewarned readers of the upcoming changes to British driving licences and how it would affect everybody, as it meant the withdrawal of the paper part of the two part licence with all the relevant information stored and accessible using the digital photocard. There were obvious flaws in the system, which came into force on 8 June 2015, and pressure was brought on the government by lobby groups such as the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) to make a radical change.

The problem lie in the fact that drivers who needed to access their information for the purposes of sharing with another, for example a vehicle hire company or an employer, had to use the online service to generate a code which, when used in tandem with the last eight digits of the driver licence number, could reveal the essential information to the interested party.

The code however only remained valid for three days, hardly enough time for many purposes and the DVLA, to its credit, recognised the problem, particularly after a mountain of feedback from disgruntled drivers. The scheme was adapted in July to ensure the code was valid for a full 21 days but it would seem that many drivers and employers are still unaware of the change.

Both the RHA and FTA entered into prolonged dialogue with DVLA prior to the system being launched in the hope that employers would easily be able to check licences in bulk. Many are now using third-party services at a cost because of the added time and resources required to check each one separately online. Ian Gallagher of the FTA said:

“Common sense has prevailed and the DVLA has listened to what we have been saying about the new online system not being fit for purpose. Allowing employers longer to use the code before it expires is a sensible move. However we still believe more changes are needed to make the system efficient and effective, such as the ability to check non-GB licences online instead of via an office hours-only phone line.

“Bulk checking of licences is also an issue that needs to be reviewed. The scheme was part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge to reduce legislative burden, but for employers with hundreds or even thousands of drivers it’s a cumbersome and time-consuming process which does the exact opposite.”

The change was announced in the DVLA digital blog which is proving a useful source of information for both drivers and employers alike. For exact information regarding the original changes consult our April article.