“The system the Government is currently proposing is not suitable for business needs.”
It has now been announced that the removal of the counterpart to the driving licence will not go ahead on the 1 January 2015 as originally planned.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has convinced the Government to delay plans to abolish the paper counterpart to the driving licence until an online system suitable for businesses has been developed, as the FTA state the proposed electronic system was not ‘”fit-for-purpose.”
The initial announcement to remove the counterpart was part of the Governments drive to reduce unnecessary burden to business in 2011. This was supported by the FTA on the condition that a suitable online replacement was in place prior to its removal, this is not the case therefore the delay has come as an early Christmas present for employers who rely on the counterpart to ensure their drivers are legally able to drive.
Ian Gallagher, FTA Head of Policy for Driver Licencing said: “Businesses that employ a large number of people who have to drive for a living have a critical role in ensuring these drivers are safe and eligible to be on the road. FTA members desperately want a sophisticated electronic system for monitoring their drivers – but the system the Government is currently proposing is not suitable for business needs.”
The Driver Vehicle Licence Agency (DVLA) proposed replacement relies on the individual driver logging into the ‘View Driver Record’ system and printing off a copy of their counterpart details which they can give to their employer – they will then be able to verify the information within 48 hours by also going online. While this process may work for some employers, FTA members who employ many thousands of drivers and have their licences checked up to three times a year will find this process both time consuming and costly.
Further information on a potential timescale for the removal of the counterpart licence was not available at the time of this story going to press.