Illegal drivers on the roads are not only breaking the law, but are also posing a great danger to other road users due to potentially being unaware of the rules of the road and not to mention probably driving a car that isn’t insured for their use. Despite all of these reasons, is it as difficult as it should be to get hold of a counterfeit licence? Are the DVLA really doing enough to stop this from happening? Admittedly, it is difficult to estimate the exact scale of the problem in the UK, but it definitely needs investigating further. There is currently no data available when it comes to the amount of counterfeit licences that are circulating in the UK and it only takes a quick Google search to find many websites offering ‘realistic’ ‘fake’ driving licences at low prices. It might be surprising but these websites operate successfully and can be a big money maker for those involved.
Considering the annual cost of fraud is around £193 billion at the moment (which is around £3000 per head of the population) you would think the DVLA might like to try and do a little more about people attempting to cheat the system. Industries such as finance do, understandably, take the issue of fraud extremely seriously and recently have stepped up their game by introducing verification software such as voice biometrics, it seems other industries are still a little slack, including that of driving and Automotives. Not only does driving licence fraud pose a danger on the road, it also threatens businesses such as delivery companies, fleet operators and car rental businesses who rely on their employees having a driving licence. The importance of checking that employees who need to have a driving licence, do in fact have a valid one, has been highlighted in recent months. Whilst thorough checks should be carried out anyway, some smaller businesses may just take a copy of an employee’s driving licence and not have definite confirmation that it is legitimate. If the checks are not done properly or in some cases not done at all, it will be the senior management that is criminally liable for any death or serious injury that might occur whilst that illegal driver is in operation of a vehicle on the job. It is so easy to purchase a counterfeit licence online, that there are calls to make sure the DVLA are doing more to prevent them being used.
Suggestions seem to focus on making the driving licence more unique to its owner, such as carrying in it a unique identifier that is generated by the card manufacturer. This unique reference can then be etched into the driving licence. This would encourage employers to complete more thorough checks as it would be an easy way to determine whether the licence was real and unique to the person that was using it. Any fraud or fakes detected will mean the licence is immediately pulled out of circulation and reported. There are hopes that the threat of this will also discourage people from using fake licences and fake forms of identity in the first place and thus reduce illegal driving and identity fraud.