Licence Checking Legal Background
It is an offence under Section 87 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 “for a person to drive on a road a motor vehicle of any class otherwise than in accordance with a licence authorising him/her to drive a motor vehicle of that class.” The Act also creates the offence of ‘causing or permitting another person to drive a motor vehicle without a licence’. So an offence may be committed under the Road Traffic Act by the careless employer who “causes or permits” a driver to commit the offence.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers ‘to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees’.
The Act makes specific reference to ensuring that employees are properly instructed, trained and supervised. Plant and equipment should be properly maintained and reasonably safe to use.
The Health and Safety Executive in their published guidance “Driving At Work: Managing Work Related Road Safety” make it clear that any vehicle used for work should be properly maintained and safe for the purpose (irrespective of its ownership) and that checks should be implemented to ensure that drivers are properly qualified and entitled to drive the vehicle in question. In short, employers should as a matter of course check that employees hold a valid driving licence that entitles them to drive their vehicle.