The Freight Transport Association has welcomed news that Northern Ireland transport operators will have access to a new online Driver and Vehicle Agency system from April 2016.
Operators in Britain will benefit from a DVLA online system from 8 June and Seamus Leheny, FTA Policy & Relationships manager for Northern Ireland, said this would put those in Northern Ireland at a disadvantage.
He said: “Operators who employ drivers are duty-bound under Operator Licensing legislation to notify the DOE Transport Regulation Unit of any convictions within a 28 day period. This, combined with best practice to regularly check a driver’s licence to ensure they are legally entitled to drive a vehicle, is why an efficient online driver licence service is vitally important for NI vehicle operators.”
Environment Minister Mark Durkan confirmed this week when the new system would go live in reply to a question from East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden, whose constituency covers Coleraine where the DVA service is based.
He told the Northern Ireland Assembly that the system was currently being developed by the DVA to improve customer experience, deliver service efficiencies and make online transactions available.
Mr Leheny said the FTA would be having discussions with the DVA to ensure the new service was efficient and equipped to serve the needs of employers.
“This is good news for Northern Ireland’s transport operators and also for the local economy as it will help to secure jobs at the DVA following losses last year when licencing was transferred to the DVLA in Swansea,” he said.