Published: Tuesday September 3, 2013
Last month Transport for London (TfL) stated that 72 companies had failed to gain a bronze standard following a Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) audit during June and July 2013. They also noted that many of these companies are failing for more than one reason, and helpfully released a list of the top 10 reasons for failure.
The reasons included a lack of risk assessments, failure to follow the Highway Code and, perhaps most worryingly, failure to adequately ensure that their employees' licences and qualifications are verified prior to driving.
Carrying out a manual check and keeping a log to demonstrate the checking procedure can be a time-consuming process, especially when a firm employs a large fleet of drivers. With this considered, the FORS requirement can also be demonstrated by usingan approved DVLA driving licence checking service.
Manual checks may not flag up certain issues, such as undisclosed points on a licence, and are also open to misinterpreted, fraudulent or dishonest information slipping through the net.
The FORS advice includes that the system used should alert users sufficiently in advance of licence/certificate expiry to allow for retesting and also that endorsements and disqualifications are recorded.
The status of a driving licence can change for a number of reasons and in some cases without a driver knowing. Electronic checking will pick up on these changes, removing the situation where there is failure by the driver to report endorsements and disqualifications - as well as making the verification process much simpler, quicker and easier to manage.
Employers have a 'duty of care' to ensure that professional drivers, company car scheme 'opt out' drivers, grey fleet and pool car users are appropriately licensed. As well as failing the FORS audit, they also risk potential fines under The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 and health and safety legislation if they don't.
More information on TfL's gold, silver and bronze standards can be found on the fors-online website.