Why operators need a robust process for verifying driving licence details.
An investigation has been launched into the road haulage company which allegedly hired an unlicensed lorry driver who was jailed for causing the death of a cyclist. The driver was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for causing the tragic death of a 54-year-old cyclist who was killed instantly when he was hit by the HGV during rush-hour traffic on his way to work.
The Traffic Commissioner for London and the South East of England has invited the operator to a preliminary hearing in June following receipt of information from Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police Service.
It appears that the driver was allowed to drive a 32-tonne tipper lorry by the operator who had either not properly checked that he had a valid licence or if a check was made had allowed him to drive without a licence. Either way the implications for the Operator are very serious.
Judge Worsley dismissed the driver’s excuse that he had applied for an HGV licence in 2011 and had not heard anything so had assumed it had gone through: “You had no business driving that vehicle without a proper paper licence. Heaven knows why the lorry owners let you drive that vehicle without checking and seeing whether you had a proper HGV licence.”
According to FTA (Freight Transport Association) research, 94% of its members rely on a physical check of the paper licence counterpart, whilst a Fleet News poll suggested that 46% of fleets relied on checking the paper counterpart. The DVLA will abolish the paper licence counterpart on June 8 and fleet operators will need to check the licence details online. Operators can ensure their drivers are entitled to drive for as little at £12/year per driver (based on two licence checks per year) using SmartLicence.
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Posted on: 02.06.2015