After the holidays
Employers can face prosecution if an employee driving on company business does not have the correct driving licence.
Under Section 87 (2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, this covers “encouraging or permitting an employee to drive a vehicle of any class without the correct licence”.
The penalties are of three points and a fine of up to £1,000 but if the employee is involved in a serious incident employers can face prosecutions for offences ranging from offences ranging from corporate manslaughter to aiding and abetting.
Responsible employers – better to be safe than sorry
No responsible employer wants to encourage practices that could cause harm to their employees, other road users or members of the public.
The Christmas and New Year period is one of the annual peak times for drivers to be checked for driving under the influence and it is also a peak time for accidents.
It is possible that an employee might have been among those who have failed the police check, and been banned from driving. However, it is not enough to assume that an employee will report that they have been penalised for offences, especially if they fear they will lose their job.
If you have a driver licence checking mechanism in place the New Year would be a good time to apply it.
Since paper driving licences were abolished the DVLA has introduced an online checking service. However, a third party, such as an employer, can only use it once the driver/licence holder has applied for a driver checking code and a third party redeeming code.
A clearly-explained driver policy should make it clear to employees that it will not tolerate driving under the influence of drink, illegal drugs or while banned. It should also make it clear that drivers must not use a mobile phone while driving.
The policy should also cover the duty of employees to advise if they have been prescribed medicines for a health condition that could affect their driving.
It should make it clear that drivers will be checked to ensure they are safe to drive and what steps will be taken if such checks are failed.
All employees should be given a copy of the policy when they are first employed.