The FTA has urged the government not to enforce driving licence checks once paper counterparts are abolished on 8 June, as the proposed online replacement is still not a viable alternative for fleet operators.

New FTA chief executive David Wells has written to DVLA chief executive Oliver Morley telling him that the new online system will make driver licence checking extremely difficult for freight operators, and needs to be reconsidered as a matter of urgency.

“Freight operators - which employ hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of professional drivers have a legal obligation to check licences on a regular basis.  FTA is not convinced that the proposed online checking system will be robust enough to cope with industry demands," he said.

“Despite FTA staff liaising with the DVLA to realise the commitment by the agency to provide an online alternative which businesses’ need, we believe that the system which is to be introduced in June simply does not deliver that commitment.”

Paper counterparts were originally due to be abolished at the start of the year, however concerns over the suitability of an online checking system raised by industry bodies, including BVRLA and FTA, saw the abolition pushed back until 8 June.

FTA previously told Mototransport.co.uk the original plan would have forced anyone seeking to check a driver’s counterpart information to rely on that driver printing it out from an online database, before verifying it themselves by entering a unique code on the printout into a website, along with the driver’s licence number, within 48 hours.

Both the FTA and BVRLA agreed this would cause a great deal of unnecessary work when needing to check vast numbers of licences.

The FTA said a recent joint working group exercise it carried out with DVLA to understand how much reliance was placed on the driving licence counterpart, confirmed that 94% of respondents relied on a physical check.

Wells added: “FTA has also written to the DfT, the traffic commissioners and the DVSA requesting that they do not enforce the licence-check requirement until such time as the government provides a suitable means of doing so.”

A DVLA spokeswoman said:  “FTA remain an active and long-standing participant in the development of the service.  We continue to work closely with them as we move towards 8 June where our focus remains on ensuring drivers are in control of how and when information from their driving record is shared with employers who want to see it.”