The fleet world continues to change with more compliance rules, due diligence and technologies thrust upon the industry. With so many changes it’s difficult to stay up to date on important changes within various provinces, including the tools that can help operate a fleet easier and safer.
There are many ways for drivers to lose their license for a few days, months or longer, with a chance that the driver won’t inform an employer. Disturbingly, 10 per cent of all drivers in Canada do not have a valid license, yet 75 per cent continue to drive! They’re 56 per cent more likely to get in an accident and cause damage. This translates into seven in every 100 drivers on the road not having a license; the majority because they simply must get to work each day. On average 1.5 per cent of employees checked don’t have a valid license, and that doesn’t include improper class!
Of course a given percentage of drivers become involved in an accident shortly after they lose their license, sometimes injuring another driver. In cases where the driver is driving on behalf of an employer, such as a waste service company or other hauler, the company can be criminally responsible; this leads to legal damages and other costs, including no insurance coverage.
You may be surprised to learn this also affects companies whose employees and subcontractors use their own vehicles during work hours.
Why does this happen?
The reasons for drivers losing their license are various and include family support issues and stricter nationwide drinking and driving laws related to cars, boats even snowmobiles. An impaired warning of .05 per cent now triggers an immediate suspension (for a minimum of three days and compounding up to six months) with an ignition interlock requirement. An impaired charge of over .08 per cent leads to an immediate suspension for 90 days and minimum one-year to a maximum of a lifetime suspension, with a minimum of one year to lifetime ignition interlock requirement.
Other reasons for suspensions include unpaid fines, failure to renew a license, and medical requirements required by law or imposed by doctors. Additionally, the class of license could be downgraded from failure to complete or update a license endorsement or medical test requirement (making the driver unauthorized to drive a vehicle for the stated class).
Suspended drivers and their habits affect companies. New strict commercial impound laws require 90-day verification to avoid impound. Provinces with government-issued insurance require confirmation of yearly renewal. Updates to the criminal code leave company owners and directors at risk of loss of insurance coverage, fines, and prosecution.
All these issues can now be averted with simple and frequent driver’s license verification. Recently the company VerX Direct Corp. in Barrie, Ontario negotiated a landmark deal with Canada’s provinces and territories. VerX can now provide companies with their own 24/7 web access to provincial and territorial licensing departments so they can check the license status and class of a driver, either one at a time or in batches (multiple drivers). The service includes online access to reporting options that allow export, printing or downloads of past transactions, when needed.
Results may often be obtained in seconds, reducing the time and burden for companies to maintain compliance. This is especially valuable for companies that operate in different provinces, avoiding weeks or even months of work.
“We’ve been using the system checking our drivers every month for over a year now,” says Doug Tilford of the Bluewater Recycling Association. “The system is fast, accurate, and extremely easy to use. Taking a proactive approach to risk has paid off many times over and given me peace of mind.”
Mike Millian, Driver & Vehicle Safety Manager for Hensall District Co-operative, says, “The cost of running a full abstract search can be cost prohibitive if you run a large fleet and run multiple checks a year.
“The VerX direct service provided HDC with a cost effective way to go from checking or drivers records once per year up to three times per year.”
According to the company, VerX DLV doesn’t replace the use of abstracts, but it does enhance the use of them because it immediately checks whether a driver’s license is valid and is of the correct class. There’s no reason to wait until the next abstract or status check to discover that an issue exists, now that and easy method exists to conduct frequent driver verification.
George Sutej is President of VerX Direct in Barrie, Ontario. Contact George at