Graduated Fixed Penalties
Fixed penalty notices (FPNs) have been used extensively for driving offences for over 20 years. Anyone that is issued with an FPN can elect not to accept it. However, in doing so they face the prospect of proceedings at a Magistrates’ Court and if they consider they are innocent of the alleged offence can contest the proceedings against them.
Graduated FPNs were introduced in 2009 and cover amongst other matters commercial vehicle drivers’ hours. For drivers hours the penalties are graduated to reflect the severity of the offence. Graduated FPN and FPD range from £50 to £300.
Drivers without a satisfactory UK address who are suspected of committing many of the FPN offences can be required to give an immediate financial penalty deposit (FPD) either for an amount equivalent to the FPN or as an amount set as a surety where the offence is more serious and to be prosecuted in court.
FPDs have enabled enforcement against drivers of commercial goods vehicles who do not have satisfactory addresses in the UK making it difficult and costly to pursue them effectively at a later date.
Each year over three million fixed penalty notices are issued by the police for motoring offences in Great Britain. The fixed penalty system for vehicle-related offences provides an efficient way of dealing with a wide range of offences and the rights of individuals to challenge alleged offences in court are preserved. DVSA examiners also have the power to issue fixed penalty notices.
The graduated fixed penalty system means that the fixed penalty will depend on the circumstances or the severity of the offence – how far the driver has exceeded the limits or failed to satisfy the requirements of the legislation. This includes the amount of rest time the driver has failed to take when required, or the amount of time spent driving in excess of the limits e.g.
|Severity – time driving beyond the limit||Fixed Penalty|
|0 up to, but not including 1 hour||£100.00|
|1 hour up to, but not including – 2 hours||£200.00|
|2 hours and over||£300.00|
In 2014 the Government consulted the industry on a proposal to apply FPNs to historic drivers’ hours offences and this is expected to be an important enforcement tactic that could expose transport operators to more FPNs.
The definitive device for recording HGV drivers’ hours is the tachograph. A driver is required to comply with the regulations using the specified recording equipment. Subject to any statutory requirements or manipulation of the data (such as suspected tampering), examiners will take the information recorded by the tachograph and base their compliance check on those records.
Drivers should download their digital driver card data every 28 days and the digital Vehicle Unit data should be downloaded every 56 days in the UK.
Tachograph analysis software solutions such as Smartanalysis are available for 25p per driver per day and help transport operators manage their compliance with drivers’ hours law and avoid FPNs. A £300 FPN would pay for Smartanalysis for Smartanalysis for 6 years for the driver concerned!
Contact us to find out more about how you can avoid FPNs with Smartanalysis.