On 8 June 15 the paper counterpart of the driving licence was abolished. The removal will have an effect on operators, who should now review their systems for compliance.
One of the undertakings made when applying for a goods vehicle operator’s licence is that rules on driving and operating a vehicle are observed. This includes checking that the drivers of vehicles driven under an operator’s licence hold the correct entitlement to drive; not only that they hold the correct entitlement for that class of vehicle but also that their licence is current. Allowing someone to drive other than in accordance with a licence will not only invalidate the insurance but is also an offence.
Previously operators carried out periodic checks of their drivers’ driving licences, mainly by asking the driver to produce the paper counterpart, taking a photocopy of that counterpart and keeping the dated photocopy on file. By doing this, they could check the entitlement and the number of penalty points held by the driver. The system for checking driving licences is one of the things often checked by traffic examiners on a visit to the operator.
However, the abolition of the paper counterpart means that the number of penalty points identified on the paper counterpart may not be a true reflection. The paper counterpart is no longer needed to be sent in to DVLA following either a court appearance or the receipt of a fixed penalty notice.
Operators now need to make themselves familiar with and use the DVLA on line systems for checking driving licences. Continuing to rely upon taking photocopies will no longer be effective, will not be classed as a satisfactory system and would mean that operators unnecessarily received an unsatisfactory report from a DVSA traffic examiner.