14th May 2015

INFORMATION UPDATE

 Issue No.  2015/08

 Sentient
              

 

CHANGES AFFECTING DRIVERS

Change to Driving Licence

With effect from 8th June 2015, DVLA will no longer issue the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence.  Consequently, drivers would only need to have the photocard driving licence. Existing paper counterparts will no longer be valid and the DVLA are suggesting that they be destroyed after the 8th June.

However, do not confuse with the paper only driving licence (issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998) which remains valid and should not be destroyed.

So how will drivers check their driver record?

In 2014 DVLA launched a service which enables GB driving licence holders to view their driving record online (www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence).  The service is free and the driver would need to enter their driving licence number, national insurance number and postcode, which enables the driver to check what type of vehicles they can drive and any endorsements (penalty points) they may have.  The check can also be done by phone or by post.

So how will employers check driving licence information?

DVLA are currently developing two new digital enquiry services:

‘Access to Driver Data’

This will provide real-time driving licence data via a business-to-business interface (or API).  Access to this service will be subject to users agreeing contractual terms.  Connection and enquiry costs are currently under consideration. The service is currently scheduled to be available in summer 2015 and is likely to be used by car hire organisations, car dealerships/garages and large employers that have a significant number of drivers, where this type of arrangement is likely to be cost effective. 

‘Share Driving Licence’

This will provide an online alternative for those who currently have a business need to check the information displayed on the driving licence counterpart. Share Driving Licence will be a free, 24/7 service and is currently scheduled to be available in Spring 2015.   Whilst it is not up and running at present, the indications are that the driver will need to log on to ‘view driving licence’ as above, and obtain a unique licence check code that the driver can share with his employer. The employer will have a period of time (indications are 72 hours) in which to log on, quoting the unique licence check code and the driver’s licence number to check the driver’s licence and any endorsements.  In other-words, the driver will have to provide a new code, each and every time that the employer needs to check the licence. Once the driver has shared the code, and even though the code is likely to be valid for 72 hours, the driver may have the facility to log on and cancel the code, preventing access to anyone with whom he had shared the code.

What will this mean?

Currently, when employers carry out their periodic driving licence check, employees are required to show their employer both the photocard licence and also the paper counterpart that details any endorsements. When this becomes operational, the employee will need to bring in their photocard licence and the code to enable the employer to log on to access details of the licence and any endorsements. Given it appears the access code will need to be used within a limited time window, employers will have to act swiftly, and access the information, before the code expires.

Other Recent ChangesNot Employment Law, or Health & Safety or Food Safety but useful to know:

HGV Speed limits

From 6 April 2015, the speed limit for HGVs travelling on single and dual carriageways in England and Wales increased.

Whilst drivers will need to drive having regard to prevailing road conditions at the time, the national speed limits for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes, travelling on

  • a single carriageway increased from 40mph to 50mph.
  • a dual carriageway increased from 50mph to 60mph.

The limits in Scotland remain unchanged.

European speed limiter requirements also remain unchanged and must be set at 56mph or lower.

A new drug driving law came into force in March 2015

A new offence, to make it easier for the police to arrest drivers who drive after taking illegal drugs or abuse medicinal drugs, came into force in England and Wales on 2nd March 2015.

The new law makes it an offence to drive while over specified limits for a total of 16 drugs. Eight of the drugs could be used for medicinal purposes although the specified limit allows for the normal recommended doses that most patients would be prescribed. Patients who take their medicines as intended should therefore not be affected by this legislation, provided the medicine does not affect their driving.

The substances are:

Illegal drugs

Prescription drugs

Benzoylecgonine (cocaine) - 50 micrograms per litre of blood (µg/L)

Clonazepam (used to treat seizures and panic disorder) - 50µg/L

Cocaine - 10µg/L

Diazepam (anti-anxiety) - 550µg/L

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis and cannabinol) - 2µg/L

Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol - sedative) - 300µg/L

 

Ketamine - 20µg/L

Lorazepam (anti-anxiety) - 100µg/L

LSD - 1µg/L

Methadone (heroin substitute) - 500µg/L

Methylamphetamine - 10µg/L

Morphine (pain relief) - 80µg/L

MDMA (ecstasy) - 10µg/L

Oxazepam (anti-anxiety) - 300µg/L

Heroin and diamorphine - 5µg/L

Temazepam (anti-anxiety and sedative) - 1,000µg/L

The limits for the majority of prescription drugs are above the normal doses; the new legislation will give police the power to test and arrest motorists who are suspected of driving over the new levels.

There is a medical defence that if the driver is taking a prescription medication in accordance with medical instructions - provided they're not impaired. Consequently, drivers might want to have evidence of the medication they are taking, because it may be helpful in case they’re stopped by police.

Penalties for drug-driving

Driver’s convicted of drug-driving could get:

  • A minimum one-year driving ban
  • A fine up to £5,000
  • A criminal record

The driving licence will also show a conviction for drug-driving and it will remain on there for 11 years.  Therefore an employer will become aware of such a conviction as part of the driving licence check (see above).

A conviction for drug-driving may also make it difficult to secure motor insurance and may result in difficulty travelling to certain countries, such as the USA.


 

 

 

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