Counterpart licence scrapping delayedThe government has delayed plans to abolish the paper counterpart to the driving licence after the Freight Transport Association (FTA) argued the proposed replacement online system was “not fit for purpose”.

The removal of the counterpart to the driving licence was planned to go ahead on January 1, 2015 as part of the government’s drive to reduce unnecessary burden to business.

FTA said it originally supported the move on the condition a suitable online replacement agreed by business users was in place prior to its removal. However, the Association said a workable alternative has not as yet materialised.

It said the delay was as an early Christmas present for employers who rely on the counterpart to ensure their drivers are legally able to drive.

“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,” said Ian Gallagher, FTA head of policy for driver licencing. “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 and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) proposed a replacement that relies on the individual driver logging into the View Driver Record system and printing off a copy of their counterpart details. This can be given to an employer, who will be able to verify the information within 48 hours by also going online.

While this process may work for some employers, FTA said its members who employ many thousands of drivers and have their
licences checked up to three times a year, will find the new scheme both time consuming and costly.