NI freight and transport operators will have access to driving licence records at the DVA to ensure their drivers are working legally.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) welcomed the decision giving operators access to a new online DVA system from April 2016.
Operators in Britain will benefit from the system from June 8 and Seamus Leheny, FTA policy and relationships manager for Northern Ireland, said those in NI would be at a disadvantage without similar access.
“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,” he said. “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 the NI system would go live next year in reply to a question from East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden.
Ms Sugden’s constituency covers Coleraine where the DVA service is based.
Mr Leheny added that 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.