How often do you check your drivers? Probably not nearly enough

A blog post by Laura Pack, Client Development Manager for Transport, Logistics, and Utilities Pre-Employment Screening at GBG.

Driving remains one of the most hazardous activities British employees can be expected to undertake for their employers. Britain has a high number of road fatalities, and between five and six hundred each year involve people or vehicles in work-related crashes. To put this in perspective, in 2016 there was a total of 325 air travel related deaths recorded worldwide.

For such risky work, one would expect driving licence checks to be frequent and thorough. But, as a recent poll we conducted on Twitter revealed, some companies only run checks once a year, and many still rely on employees to inform them of any changes in the meantime. When someone’s job is on the line, the sad fact is that trust simply isn’t enough: a recent RAC Insurance survey found that only 13% of respondents would inform their employer of any points they incurred, with a worrying 25% already having points that they had failed to disclose.

If any of this is ringing scarily true for your business, you most certainly aren’t alone. A recent of senior managers at 400 UK businesses found that:

  • Of the 89% who actually check their driver documentation, only 43% do so more than once every 6 months.
  • 15% admitted to running no follow-up checks whatsoever, only checking documentation when a new employee joins. This means they could have employees who can no longer legally drive for them, leaving their organisation wide open to considerable fines, and, in the case of an incident or crash, severe reputational damage.

Solving the problem

So, how often should your business be running licence checks? With recent increases in penalty points for mobile phone use (up to 6), points can accumulate faster than ever. In light of this, best practice frequency for compliance in licence checking by fleets has increased.

Both the Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) require checks to be run at least every 6 months, with a higher frequency for drivers working in high risk environments. The Traffic Commissioners’ advice is to undertake checks every quarter. We recommend that this is adhered to, but also a risk-based approach could help to ensure maximum protection for your business. This could be:

  • 0-6 points – biannual (or quarterly, for more high risk environments)
  • 6-9 points – quarterly
  • 9+ points – monthly

We understand, the time and expense of running checks is probably the main reason many organisations are doing so on such an infrequent basis – particularly if they’re doing them manually with the DVLA. It may seem daunting, but it’s important to consider that whilst the initial costs may seem high, they’re dwarfed by potential fines or reputational risk if things were to go wrong.

Rather than an expense, view them as a vital investment. If you’ve already been following good practice, upping the frequency should only affect a minority of your drivers – drivers who should already be firmly on your radar.

Expense aside, using a third party provider like GBG to run your checks can dramatically reduce both the time and hassle involved. GBG   can schedule licence checks and provide one of the most detailed reports on the market – helping you to easily build your own risk-based approach at the click of a button. GBG KnowYourPeople not only covers licence checks, it also reduces the risks involved with hiring new employees with other pre-employment checks and gives you an expert helpdesk and account team on hand to offer advice and ensure you’re always fully compliant.

If you’d like to discuss what checking frequency is right for your business, or how we can help to ensure you remain compliant, get in touch at

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