Fleet Risk – How to hire drivers
Taking on any new employee can be a risk, especially if they’re driving for work. Here’s what fleets need to be looking out for.
Managing fleet risk effectively starts well before your drivers get behind the wheel. In fact, it starts before they begin working for you. After all, the best way to have good drivers is to recruit them in the first place – and a few simple checks can avoid issues later on.
What should you check before hiring a driver?
Before you hire anyone, even if they are only likely to drive occasionally, it is important to check their driving licence history thoroughly. The DVLA offers a free online service for checking individual licences, which will highlight:
- Which vehicles can they drive? Licences issued after 1 January 1997 have fewer entitlements, which means drivers could require additional training for larger and heavier vehicles.
- Do they need glasses or contact lenses? Eyesight issues must be declared to the DVLA and corrected while driving. Failure to do so risks up to three penalty points and a fine.
- How many penalty points do they have? Drivers convicted of motoring offences, such as speeding, have endorsements added to their licence for at least four years. This can highlight applicants who are prone to riskier behaviour.
- Are they fit to drive? Health conditions which affect fitness to drive must be declared to the DVLA. Drivers can get six penalty points for ignoring any resulting restrictions, or not declaring them in the first place.
- Has their licence expired? Photocards must be renewed every ten years, or every three years after you reach 70 years old. The DVLA issues fines up to £1,000 for expired cards.
Endorsements are quite common – 7% of UK drivers (2.76m people) have penalty points on their licence, according to the latest DVLA data. However, employers could consider a policy limiting the maximum number allowed for new employees. There are 119,176 drivers with nine or more points on their licence, which means they are close to getting a ban and might not be worth the cost of recruiting.
A driver profile tool can also help, as it can provide a useful insight into some details that a licence check does not cover. This could include the candidate’s previous driving and collision experience, together with other important factors you need to consider, such as any medical conditions or if they are taking medication that could affect their driving. These tools can be found online and completed before a candidate is interviewed.
How often should employers check drivers’ licences?
Ongoing licence checks ensure your drivers stay covered on your insurance policy, can legally drive company vehicles, and also help implement additional training. We suggest it’s a good idea to do it every six months, possibly more frequently for higher risk drivers.
You will need a written policy that shows how often these checks are carried out, and drivers must sign a declaration acknowledging that this will happen. Once this has been signed, you can check as frequently as you like for three years, after which you will need a new declaration.
As the DVLA charges for large volumes of drivers, it is often more cost-effective to engage a licence checking company, who will ensure that you do not infringe GDPR. We offer an online licence checking tool, which will automate that process, produce reports and issue alerts if drivers don’t pass.