Reducing the agency driver risk

Agency drivers don’t always have the best of reputations with transport companies. Part of their bad reputation stems from the adverse effect agency drivers sometimes have on motor fleet insurance claims. In practice, some drivers are in fact very good but others can prove to be less than ideal.

So what can a transport company do to reduce the risk of an undesirable outcome when taking on an agency driver?

Using the services of a driver agency that’s a member of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) Drivers Group is likely to be a good starting point. REC members should follow the code of practice drawn up by the REC Drivers Group in conjunction with the RHA and FTA. This code of practice places obligations on both the driver agency and the firm that’s engaging the services provided by the driver agency.

From the transport operator’s perspective, key benefits of using drivers supplied by a REC Drivers Group member include knowing that the driver agency has:

  • Made every reasonable effort to ensure that drivers comply with relevant legislation, in particular the drivers' hours and tachograph rules

  • Taken up relevant occupational references covering the previous two year period of employment, particularly checking periods of unemployment so far as practicable

  • Checked drivers' licences, regularly re-checks them and, if a driver does no work for the agency for a period of more than three months, carries out further licence checks

  • Kept appropriate records of drivers to be supplied, including past experience, qualifications and references.

Once you’ve hired a reliable agency driver you should remember to follow the usual induction procedures. If an agency driver is not properly briefed and made fully aware of what is expected of him or her before getting in a cab, the operator should not be surprised if something goes wrong.

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