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Driver’s licence controls and best practices for auto dealerships

As the sale and service of vehicles is the foundation of an auto dealership, safe operation of these vehicles is critical
Businessmen hand's pointing where to sign a contract, legal papers or application form.

As the sale and service of vehicles is the foundation of an auto dealership, safe operation of these vehicles is critical. As such, various factors must be considered when vehicles are used by staff, contractors, or clients. There should be no distinction between someone driving a vehicle or operating machinery in a factory.

One of the most basic yet important driver controls a dealership can have in place is a driver’s licence review process. Below are some key considerations for reviewing a driver’s licence, whether it is an employee driving on business or a client taking a vehicle for a test drive.

Physical driver’s licence check:

It is very easy to produce or obtain a duplicate driver’s licence card that may be completely invalid or may include or exclude specific endorsements and/or restrictions.

  • Employees: At the time of hire and at least annually thereafter, all employees should provide their physical driver’s licence card to the appropriate manager.
  • Customers: Sales and/or management should review the physical driver’s licence card prior to releasing a loaner or test drive vehicle.

What to look for:

When reviewing the actual driver’s licence card, it is important to ensure the following:

  • It is issued by a provincial government.
  • It is valid (for example, not expired or suspended).
  • It includes a photograph of the person that is clear and centered.
  • It includes the person’s date of birth.
  • Endorsements or restrictions on the driver’s licence are appropriate.

How to spot a fake driver’s licence:

  • Confirm the photo resembles the individual providing it.
  • Hold the driver’s licence card in your hands, removing it from any sort of case it may be in.
  • Feel for any variances in thickness of the card, especially around the photo and edges.
  • Look for variances in the numbers and letters, ensuring the font, colour, size, and spacing are consistent throughout.

Look for signs of tampering, such as visible alterations, scratches, or smudges on the licence. Pay attention to any mismatched fonts, colors, or uneven edges, as these can be indications of a counterfeit licence.

Verification resources:

It is important to note that there are an array of third-party vendors providing real-time authentication of a variety of government-issued documents, including driver’s licences from not only every region in Canada, but from other countries as well.

A propriety device can scan and authenticate a driver’s licence using dozens of different tests based on the region from which the document was issued and can provide a result in less than 60 seconds.

These devices can authenticate an individual’s identity in-person, online, or via mobile app.

Given the nature of dealership operations, the value of vehicles as well as the current level of customer service provided, it is common for appointments to be pre-arranged and customized to that particular customer. As such, providing a driver’s licence can sometimes be general practice as part of the initial customer onboarding process, and should definitely be completed prior to a test drive. It is important to note that these signs are not foolproof, and professional counterfeit licences can be difficult to detect. If you suspect a licence is fake, it is best to involve law enforcement or the appropriate authorities for further investigation.


As always, please contact your broker or Marsh Advisory representative if you have any questions or concerns.