Driver licensing

FTA policy updates on DVLA issues

***Update: 10 July 2015***

DVLA confirms extension of validity of access code

We are pleased to inform members that after continued lobbing by FTA and other business organisations, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has confirmed that the driver licence checking access code’s 72-hour time validity has been extended to 21 days as of 10 July 2015.

The access code is produced by the licence holder when using the online system ‘View Driver Licence’ and enables the employer to check licence details using ‘Share Driver Licence’. The 21 days commences once the access code has been generated; the code itself can only be used once. Members should also note that the code is case sensitive and can be cancelled online by the driver at any point.

Further information can be found on DVLA’s digital blog, here and on the GOV.UK website here.

DVLA confirms telephone number for checking non-UK licences

DVLA has also confirmed that any employer looking to check the points held by a non-UK driver’s licence holder is now able to use the local rate telephone number, 0300 790 6801, for enquiries necessary for confirmation of registration (D9) or any endorsements held. This changes the previous situation where the employer would have been required to call using a premium rate number. The options are therefore as follows.

  • The driver can phone the DVLA Contact Centre on the general line (0300 790 6801 local rate) and leave permission for a third party to call, within a week, for information from the record. The employer can then call the same 0300 number to obtain the details, or
  • The third party enquirer can telephone the general line (0300 790 6801) on a three-way call with driver and DVLA.

FTA has been requesting this change for some time and has welcomed the move by DVLA which should result in cost savings for members.

Read the FTA briefing note on the Removal of the Driving Licence Counterpart.

Read FTA's latest policy update on DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) issues (members only), this covers the main legislative changes and DVLA online service developments expected over the coming year.

Driver licensing compliance

It's an offence to drive a vehicle on a public road without an appropriate licence for that vehicle. A company or person may be prosecuted if they cause or permit the offence, and most insurance policies are invalid if the driver is not properly qualified to drive.

Driving licence checking system

If you're an operator you must have a routine driving licence checking system to cover your employees or agents (such as agency staff). You should ensure your drivers:

  • hold a current licence for that category of vehicle
  • have not been disqualified from driving
  • comply with any conditions on the licence (eg wearing glasses or using L-plates)

Learn how to keep compliant with driver's licences

Driving entitlements for category B drivers

In 1997, driving entitlements for those passing their car tests (category B) were considerably reduced. New category B drivers were no longer able to draw large trailers, drive minibuses or vehicles over 3.5 - 7.5 tonnes Maximum Authorised Mass (mam).

The rules changed again in January 2013, with the introduction of the Third Driving Licence Directive. This meant that in addition to the 1997 restrictions above, category B + E drivers who obtained their licence after January 2013 date were limited as to the weight of trailer they could tow. The Directive imposed a restriction of 3,500 kgs mam (maximum authorised mass) on the trailer, with anything above that trailer weight requiring additional entitlements from a C1 + E licence. This area of licensing can be complex, members are invited to contact the Member Advice Centre for further details.

Drivers who passed their car driving test before 1997 will continue to benefit from the C1 (107 - limited to 8250kg) and D1 (101 - not for hire and reward) entitlement until their licence expires at age 70 or their medical status changes.

Driving entitlements for category C drivers

Category C licence holders are able to drive a rigid vehicle in excess of 3.5 tonnes (not in category D, F, G, or H) and a trailer having a mam not exceeding 750 kgs.

Registering for non-GB licence holders

If you're a non-GB licence holder living in Great Britain and have vocational entitlement, you must register your details with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) within 12 months of becoming a resident.

You can download a D9 application form or contact the DVLA on 0870 240 0009. Drivers of small vehicles can also register.

More information on driver licensing

Use the downloadable documents and links below to find more information on driver licensing. If you're an FTA member you can also get expert advice from our Member Advice Centre.

Additionally, click here to find out more about our Driver Licence Checking Service, delivered in conjunction with Licence Bureau.

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