Many South Africans see transport as a viable sector in which to start a small business. Think of the numerous Ubers, taxis, bakkies and trucks that you drive past every day.
However, one of the basic conditions of any vehicle insurance policy is that the driver has the relevant qualification. If your business involves the transportation of people, ordinary goods or dangerous goods on public roads, it is critical that your driver(s) have a Professional Driver’s Permit.
What happens if the driver doesn’t have a Professional Driver’s Permit?
Not having a Professional Driver’s Permit would result in the driver, passengers, vehicle and goods not being covered by their insurance company in the event of an accident. If other parties are involved, anyone facing a damages claim for negligent driving, and who did not have a Permit, would find their case considerably weakened.
How to obtain a Professional Driver’s Permit
To obtain a Professional Driver’s Permit, which replaces the old Public Driver’s Permit, an individual must meet certain criteria. Applicants need to:
- Have a normal driving licence;
- Be certified medically fit by a doctor;
- Not have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, or of reckless or negligent driving, within the past five years;
- Have been certified by an approved training body for certain kinds of vehicles (in some cases);
- Register their application with the police, who will also take fingerprints.
Fraud is a significant challenge.
Unfortunately, fake Professional Driver’s Permits are rife. Businesses (or specialised agencies) are advised to make enquiries regarding the authenticity of a Permit. Operators or owners of motor vehicles for which a Professional Driver’s Permit is required should also know when the Permit expires – there is no grace period as there is with a normal driver’s licence, so validity lapses immediately on expiry, and this would mean the business vehicle insurance cover would also be compromised.
Insurance is a key survival tool in South African small business sector: make sure your business is comprehensively covered and ensure that your employees are licenced to drive the vehicles they do!