The UK has exited the European Union, but until the end of the year there is a transition period during which rules and regulations remain unchanged.
However, there is much for fleet decision-makers to do by way of readiness for January 1, 2021 with industry experts advising “be prepared”.
Over the coming months, UK Government and European Union officials will be holding intense discussions to, the UK hopes, ensure that transition is as smooth as possible and the regulatory status quo remains in place as far as possible.
The UK Government has stated that it would not seek any extension to the transition period thereby putting pressure on officials to have agreements in place in just 11 months.
Documentation required by drivers travelling overseas and required vehicle identifiers could change in the event of the UK Government failing to forge agreements with the European Union. Highlighted below are the key issues.
International Driving Permits: Any requirement for a driver to hold one or more International Driving Permit (IDP) is dependent on the outcome of trade talks between the UK and the European Union.
Currently UK driving licence holders who live in the UK can drive in all European Union and European Economic Area countries using their UK driving licence. In addition to a UK driving licence, an IDP is only required to drive in some countries outside of the European Union and European Economic Area.
In the event that there is no European Union exit deal negotiated, the UK Government has previously said that it would seek to put in place new arrangements for European Union and European Economic Area countries to recognise UK driving licences when people were visiting, for example on holiday or business trips.
However, if no agreements are reached then there are three types of IDP, although in all likelihood either one governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic or one governed by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic will be required. Which one is required for a journey abroad depends on the country/countries being visited. An IDP is only available from a Post Office at a cost of £5.50.
As a result businesses and drivers should check if they require an IDP and which one. Further information is available at:
Insurance: The Association of British Insurers has urged drivers to contact their insurer for a Green Card – an international certificate of insurance – and take it with them if they wish to drive their vehicle in the European Union, the European Economic Area and some other countries (Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland) in the event of no agreement being in place following the transition period. In certain instances, such as fleet insurance, multiple Green Cards may be required.
Green Cards will be required under regulations as proof of insurance. Those who travel without one may be breaking the law, which applies to both businesses and individuals. The same requirements will apply to European Union motorists travelling to the UK.
Best practice advice for fleet operators is to contact the company’s vehicle insurance provider ASAP and at least one month before any date of travel overseas.
Non-UK driving licence holders: Companies have been urged to “thoroughly check” the validity of non-UK driving licence holders during the post-Brexit transition period.
The call has come from the Association for Driving Licence Verification (ADLV), which is urging companies to use the transition period to review the current actions they take in respect of non-British licence holders driving or employed in the UK, particularly in respect of convictions in the UK.
Although not shown on overseas licences, they are still recorded by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Consequently, the ADLV says that checking convictions enables the verification of all drivers against DVLA records as a minimum requirement for someone working and driving in the UK.
The organisation’s chairman Malcolm Maycock said: “Few companies seem to recognise the very real requirements for thoroughly checking non-UK licence holders entering the country.
“Whilst their physical licence identifies the country where they passed their test, an expiry date and the category of vehicle they can drive, it doesn’t provide convictions which may be held at the DVLA for motoring offences committed in the UK. By checking non-UK licences, companies maintain far greater control of risk and contribute greatly to road safety.”
Additionally, employers should review and document licence categories, expiry dates and locations where a driver passed their test – just because an employee has a European Union licence it may not mean they passed their test in a member country. When an employee with a non-UK driving licence started to drive in the UK should also be recorded.
Vehicle number plates and national identifiers: Under international conventions, GB is the distinguishing sign to display on UK-registered vehicles when driving outside of the UK, including in the European Union and European Economic Area.
The AA has advised that many UK drivers may have to purchase GB stickers as their Euro-style ‘GB’ vehicle number plates may not be recognised after the transition period.
However, drivers will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if they replace a Euro-plate with a number plate that features the GB sign without the European Union flag.
Vehicle registration documents: Vehicle registration documents are required to be carried when driving abroad. That means either a vehicle’s log book (V5C) or drivers of leased and rented vehicles have an obligation to obtain a VE103 certificate from their hire or lease company before taking their vehicle overseas.
Both the V5C and the VE103 are essential documentation that prove drivers have permission to drive the vehicle. Without that documentation, drivers could be subject to delays at the border, or in the worst instance, have their vehicle impounded.
Road traffic crashes in the European Union involving UK residents and European Union drivers visiting or living in the UK: UK residents involved in a road traffic crash in a European Union or European Economic Area country should not expect to be able to make a claim in respect of that incident via a UK-based Claims Representative or the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).
Instead, UK residents involved in a road crash may need to bring a claim against either the driver or the insurer of the vehicle in the European Union or European Economic Area country where the incident happened. That may involve bringing the claim in the local language.
In the event of a crash in a European Union or European Economic Area country caused by an uninsured or an untraced driver, UK residents may not receive compensation if there is no agreement. That, said the Department for Transport, would vary from country to country.