Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Staff could be breaking the law

Staff who step in to drive a company vehicle may be driving illegally according to one of our solicitors.

Tina Chander said driving licence rules had changed and company bosses and their staff needed to be aware of the latest guidelines.

"Over the years, changes have been made to the vehicle classes a car driving licence covers and the rules have become increasingly restrictive.

"The kind of vehicles you're covered to drive with a car licence depends not only on how old your employee is but also when they passed their test."

Tina said the latest changes affected drivers who passed their test after January 1, 1997, and more restrictions will come into force from January next year, although current licences will keep their existing rights.

"If you ask an employee to step in and drive a company vehicle on business, or even the company minibus on an outing, you need to be sure they are actually eligible. Anyone who passed their test after 1997 is restricted to just cars and cars with trailers, so driving a delivery van would not be allowed.

"And even if the employee agrees to drive your van, you must take care as encouraging someone to drive a vehicle for which they don't have a licence is actually a criminal offence."

Tina said company bosses should check with each member of staff and keep a record of what classes and categories of vehicle they were licensed to drive.

"You should also keep a note of who would be prepared to step in as a driver if needed, and make sure they are insured if they do have to drive on company business."

Tina also urged companies to check the DVLA website for details on the new changes due at the start of next year.