The chief executive of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), David Wells

FTA expresses concerns over new DVLA licence checking system

The chief executive of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), David Wells, has outlined the trade body’s view that the new driver licence checking system, to be introduced by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) this summer, will not meet businesses’ needs.

On 8th June the Government will abolish the paper counterpart that currently accompanies all UK photocard licences.

Mr Wells has written to Oliver Morley, the DVLA’s chief executive officer, telling him that the new online system will make driver licence checking extremely difficult for freight operators, and needs to be reconsidered as a matter of urgency.

The FTA has previously voiced its concerns over the system, and reminded the DVLA Chief Executive that as a fundamental part of their statutory undertakings, freight operators have to check their drivers’ licences several times a year.

Commenting on the proposed DVLA licence checking system, David Wells said: “Freight operators, which employ hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of professional drivers, have a legal obligation to check licences on a regular basis.  FTA is not convinced that the proposed online checking system will be robust enough to cope with industry demands.

“Despite FTA staff liaising with the DVLA to realise the commitment by the Agency to provide an on-line alternative, which businesses’ need, we believe that the system which is to be introduced in June simply does not deliver that commitment, and would make licence checking for our members extremely difficult.”

Within his correspondence David Wells also outlined several issues that FTA has with the proposed system, stating that the driving licence counterpart represents the main tool for checking the entitlement of professional drivers.

A recent FTA/DVLA working group exercise – carried out in order to understand how much reliance was placed on the driving licence counterpart, confirmed that 94% of respondents relied on a physical check, either separately or as part of a process which involved either telephone or external checking.

David Wells concluded: “On behalf of our members FTA has also written to the Department for Transport, the Traffic Commissioners and to the DVSA requesting that they do not enforce the licence-check requirement until such time as the Government provides a suitable means of doing so.”