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UK government pulls plug on illegal drivers

Illegal drivers UK
Illegal drivers UK

Illegal drivers are a massive hazard on the road for the government, ultimately contributing to unfair labor practices. Food delivery companies are responsible for the initial vetting process to onboard new drivers, check their age and work permits. The rider can then subcontract their accounts to unvetted drivers, reports Reuters.

Drivers working for food delivery companies like Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and Just Eat have been in the crossfire for allegedly creating ‘multiple accounts’ to maximize profit in the past.

ALSO READ: Delivery drivers under pressure create multiple profiles

Britain has now taken action against these illegal drivers, with the government instructing food delivery firms to implement “stricter controls” to stop unchecked account sharing. This way, illegal and underaged workers slip into the system. 

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick says: “Unchecked account sharing places the public at risk, enables – and therefore encourages – illegal migration, and leads to the exploitation of workers.”

Facial recognition to curb illegal drivers

What delivery companies have done:

  • Just Eat: Works closely with the government to stop underage drivers from entering the system. 
  • Deliveroo: Implemented facial recognition technology to help counter any abuse.

Deliveroo has also vowed a “zero tolerance” approach towards riders who fail to meet requirements. The business says it will not hesitate to immediately remove couriers who don’t oblige from its network. 

What are the basic criminal checks? 

Deliveroo requires all riders and drivers to prove they have the right to work in a particular country under the national police check. A third party, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), is vetting drivers and riders.

DBS can perform several checks, ranging from a broad inspection to more advanced vetting.

The types of DBS check are:

  • A basic check, which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions.
  • A standard check that shows any spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and final warnings.
  • An enhanced check shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role.
  • An enhanced check with barred lists shows the same as an enhanced check, plus whether you’re on the list of people barred from doing the role.

According to the UK government, an employer can also request a check, at which the worker has to pay the cost of £18 ($23).

A focus on road safety

Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and Just Eat have pledged to do everything possible to keep the streets of London safe by improving their drivers’ road sense. The trio signed a charter with London’s transport authorities in September. Companies are urged to tighten regulations to scrutinize drivers’ competence and illegal drivers.

London has become a buzz with an influx of electronic bicycles. Delivery drivers are rushing up and down on public roads. Crashes have increased ever since, several involving food delivery drivers and couriers. 

Authorities hope new plans to handle delivery drivers’ work environment better will positively contribute to road safety.

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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