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DRIVING IN GREAT BRITAIN (GB) AS A VISITOR OR A NEW RESIDENT
All drivers must comply with British minimum age requirements, generally, these are 17 years for cars and motorcycles, 18 years for medium sized vehicles and 21 years for large goods vehicles and buses. DVLA Information Leaflet D100 provides further information on GB driving licences and Leaflet INF38 covers driving in GB as a visitor or a new resident.
Use of Drivers from Other E.U. Member States
Checking the driving licences of drivers from outside the UK is extremely important, as different restrictions apply to different countries. Licences should be checked very carefully. If required, advice can be sought from the DVLA. The DirectGov website, http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/DrivingInGbOnAForeignLicence/index.htm contains a great deal of useful information about driving in Great Britain as a visitor or new resident. It can also be beneficial to contact the UK based embassy of the country in which a licence was issued, to check that the licence is still current and valid. Embassies can also supply official translations of licences.
Under current E.C. driving licence regulations, new resident E.C. member state drivers who have a Community licence can drive in this country on their existing licence for the periods set out below. Their Community licence has similar eligibility to the UK licence.
Provided the licence remains valid they may drive in Britain as follows:
** In order to continue driving after these periods a British Licence must be sought **
A vocational licence obtained in an EC or EEA country can be exchanged for a UK licence, subject to a fee and a medical report form. The date the licence was issued should be carefully checked as the previous experience gained by the prospective employee may not have been obtained in the UK.
The medical standards for obtaining a Community licence are similar to those that apply for a UK licence. Residents must report any change in medical conditions to the DVLA.
If the Community licence was issued on the strength of a licence from a designated country (see below) it will be valid for driving in Britain for 12 months only, but can be exchanged for a UK licence. If the Community licence was issued on the strength of a licence from a non-designated country (see ‘All other countries' below) it will be valid for driving in Britain for 12 months only, but cannot be exchanged for a UK licence.
** If you are in any doubt about entitlement to drive, contact the DVLA**
Visiting drivers to Britain can drive any vehicle for as long as their licence remains valid, providing they have a valid Community licence.
In terms of which countries are member states there are two separate groups, the European Community (E.C.) and European Economic Area (E.E.A). Both are treated equally. The full list with additional information is available from: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/DrivingInGbOnAForeignLicence/index.htm this also includes a full description of requirements for drivers from remaining designated countries, and all relevant driving licence information for both visitors to the UK and new residents. You can also access this information by phoning the customer helpline on 0300 790 6801.
Remaining Designated Countries
Temporary visitors from the designated countries also listed on the same website, who hold a full ordinary licence from their country of origin, are entitled to drive vehicles up to 3,500 kg, with up to 16 passenger seats, for up to 12 months from the date of entering Britain. Where the licence covers LCV (Light Commercial Vehicles) or LGV (Large goods vehicles) or PCV (Passenger carrying vehicles), drivers are only entitled to drive vehicles that have been registered outside of Britain and which they have driven temporarily into the country. However, provided that the full licence remains valid, these employees can drive small vehicles for 12 months from the date of becoming a resident.
To ensure continuous entitlement to drive, visitors must exchange their original licence for a UK one before the 12 month period elapses. If an exchange is not made within 12 months the individual must not drive, although they may still apply to exchange their licence any time within five years of becoming resident.
For new residents from designated countries, their foreign licence is valid for 12 months for cars, mopeds and motorcycles. To ensure continuous driving entitlement, the original licence must be exchanged for a UK one within this period, otherwise the licence becomes invalid and they cannot drive on public roads.
Holders of vocational driving licences from designated countries must pass the relevant UK driving test before driving LCV, LGV or PCV (passenger carrying vehicles), with the exception of drivers from Gibraltar.
A number of other caveats apply to certain designated countries, such as the requirement for licences from Japan and the Republic of Korea to be accompanied by an official translation (available from the relevant embassy). If you are dealing with employees from designated countries seek clarification and advice from the
All Other Countries
Drivers from all other countries cannot exchange a foreign licence for a UK licence. However, a visitor with a full, valid licence may drive a vehicle up to 3,500 kg with up to eight passenger seats in Britain for up to 12 months, as long as the licence or International Driving Permit remains valid. Drivers of medium sized and large vehicles are only entitled to drive vehicles that have been registered outside Britain and which they have driven temporarily into the country.
Special consideration should be given to identifying any additional qualifications and experience that might be required from your potential driver such as a basic knowledge of the English language and UK traffic law. Where qualifications such as ADR for the carriage of hazardous goods, Fork Lift Licences are required, drivers with these special skills should be assessed and subsequently trained and tested to UK/EU standards. Remember safety is critical, so irrespective of any existing "Qualifications or certificates" there is no substitute for a practical risk assessment.
Endorsements/Convictions, Including Suspensions
Whilst checking the original driving licence, it is imperative that you identify any endorsement codes or convictions shown on the licence. It is possible that EEC/EEA drivers may have accumulated penalty points since arriving in the UK and it is equally important to find out what they are and how long they will apply. This will give you an insight into the driver's attitude to safe driving and on their road behaviour.
It is not now unusual for speeding points to be applied to driver's licences, however this should not be dismissed as an ‘occupational hazard', but should be taken into account in the driver recruitment and decision process.
Questions should also be asked regarding any pending prosecutions, which would not automatically show up on the licence, be vigilant in all cases and if in doubt seek advice from DVLA for details on Endorsement Codes. Visit the following website for further details:
Vetting and Induction of Drivers from EU/EEA Member States Best practice Guidelines
Any applicant for employment from EEC/EEA member states which will involve any form of driving as part of their work activity (including car and non vocational drivers) should be thoroughly vetted and inducted. This will ensure that you meet your duty of care for health and safety and protect yourself and others who may be affected by the actions of your employee's driving activities. To achieve this Aviva strongly recommend that the following vetting and induction procedures be completed in all instances.
Driver Vetting Procedures
NB: Any training needs identified must be addressed in the induction
Driver Induction Procedures
1. Assess Medical Conditions
For any employee who may drive on company business, irrespective of licence type, you as the employer are required to ensure as far as ‘reasonably practicable', that the driver is fit to drive at all times. Therefore you must ask the driver specific questions to ascertain if they suffer from any of the DVLA Notifiable Medical conditions. The complete list with guidance notes can be accessed from:
Drivers Medical Group, DVLA,
Swansea, SA99 1DL
Fax: 0845 850 0095
2. Nominate a Competent Person to carry out a Driving Competence Road Test
With regard to driver vetting and licence checks, you are required as employers to ensure that the prospective employee can actually drive and is not a danger to themselves and other road users.
Subject to a satisfactory result to the initial driver vetting and licence checks, a driving competence check should be carried out in a similar type of vehicle to which they may potentially be required to drive. You must also ensure that the person checking the prospective driver is competent. Ideally this would be a qualified driving examiner, or alternatively a supervisor or manager, skilled in the driving of such vehicles and fully conversant with the type of operational requirements needed to fulfil the driving position.
All driving assessments should be formalised, with a set criteria to be followed which should include a Highway Code Questions and Answers section. This makes it more objective, easier to score and convey to your H.R. / Personnel department. A written and completed driving appraisal is also another way of showing '‘due diligence'' with regard to Health & Safety matters.
It is also beneficial to complete a written assessment form as the driving assessment is carried out to ensure consistency throughout all assessments.
Should you not have a qualified person to carryout such road tests Cardinus Risk Management Services offer a task observer course. The course provides detailed training for managers or senior drivers in both the process of conducting a structured assessment and how best to utilise both the assessment form and the information it will provide. Cardinus can be contacted on 0207 469 0200 or via our website - http://www.aviva.co.uk/risksolutions/preferred-suppliers/motor-risk-management-offers.html
Where possible, references should be sought from previous employers either in writing or by telephone. Ask questions about their driving performance, vehicle housekeeping (looking after the vehicle), accident history and attitude.
In the haulage industry, it is not uncommon for drivers to move around from job to job. Try to find out why they moved as the information gathered from previous employers often puts a different ‘slant' on the drivers motives to switch jobs.
Ideally, the checking of references should be done prior to employment commencing.
4. Additional Drivers
Questions should also be asked regarding other potential drivers such as spouse / partners / children if your company policy permits it. Again any potential drivers should be vetted using the above procedures as appropriate and should be implemented prior to driving commencing.
In order to reduce the risk of accidents, we recommend that you restrict driving to the driver only for commercial vehicles and to spouse/partner only for car drivers who have private use of your company vehicle.
To reduce risk further you should avoid allowing young inexperienced drivers and any provisional licence holders unless they are commercial vehicle drivers on some form of regulated company scheme. Whatever the case it should be the company who authorise individual drivers following full vetting procedures, this is best served with clear instructions on authorised drivers in your company drivers handbook. Example available from:
5. Drivers Declaration and Signature
Once the driver has successfully completed the vetting and induction to your satisfaction, you should retain evidence of all training and assessments completed and the outcomes for future reference.
These forms, which must be duly signed by the applicant and the trainers/assessors, should be kept within your personnel records. Many employers also attach the photocopy of the driving licence and any details regarding references received. Please note that these personal details must be kept securely to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act.
6. Additional DVLA Information and fact-sheets
The DVLA have produced a comprehensive range of really useful fact sheets covering all aspects of driver licencing, a selection is attached below (right click the download link and select open hyperlink to view).
The full index can be viewed at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/dvla/forms/onlineleaflets.aspx
What you need to know about driving licences
General information about driving licences
Driving a Minibus
This fact sheet explains the licencing position of drivers of minibuses not used for hire or reward. It also explains the position for holders of Minibus and Community Bus Permits.
Driving Licensing Requirements for Towing Trailers in Great Britain
This fact sheet contains information about changes in entitlement to tow trailers which were required by the Second EC Directive on the Driving Licence (91/439/EEC).
Driving in Great Britain (GB) as a visitor or a new resident
This leaflet explains the current rules affecting foreign driving licence holders who visit or come to live in Great Britain.
Photo card driving licence
Your photo card driving licence explained.
Driver Vetting Series
Useful Motor Risk Templates are available for you to download free of charge - visit our Tools and Templates section.
For more information on useful products and services to help you manage your vehicles and drivers view our Preferred Suppliers
For more information on Aviva Risk Solutions, please call 0345 366 6666 or email us at email@example.com
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.
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