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Fines of up to £1,500 for historic commercial drivers’ hours offences

New rules mean the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will be able to issue on-the-spot fines for any drivers’ hours offences committed in the previous 28 days. Currently, the DVSA can only bring prosecutions for offences committed that day or ongoing offences, such as tachographs manipulation.

The new powers to impose retrospective action on repeat-offenders means that in the future, HGV, bus and coach drivers could be given on-the-spot fines for any drivers’ hours offences committed in the previous 28 days. In a single roadside check, DVSA traffic examiners will be able to issue fines of £300 per offence for up to five drivers’ hours offences. Offenders could be fined up to £1,500 in a single check regardless of where the offences took place in the UK or elsewhere – with the rules also applying to drivers who do not live in Great Britain.

Each £300 fine could pay for a tachograph analysis software as a service solution such as Smartanalysis to manage compliance with drivers’ hours for 1,200 working days!

If the roadside check reveals they have breached drivers’ hours regulations, the driver will have to pay any fines immediately before being allowed to continue their journey. If they don’t, DVSA will immobilise their vehicle until they pay.

The new powers will enable the authorities to tackle the growth in the use of tachograph “interrupters” by drivers from mainland Europe as reported by the BBC on Sun 24 September, see blog post. However, the exact date the rules will change has yet to be confirmed.

DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said “There’s no excuse for driving while tired. The results of falling asleep at the wheel of 40 tonne lorry can be devastating to families and communities.” And added “Any drivers breaking these rules is putting other road users at risk and could face losing their licence and livelihood.”

Guidance about drivers’ hours rules will also be updated. In addition to giving fines to drivers for historic drivers’ hours offences, DVSA traffic examiners will start issuing fines to deal with drivers who do not take adequate rest periods. HGV, bus and coach drivers must take a 45-hour rest break at least every fortnight. From the beginning of November, The DVSA could fine drivers up to £300 if they spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle in places where it causes a problem, e.g. in a layby.

For anyone thinking the new powers are unnecessary it is worth noting that almost a quarter of injuries in accidents involving HGVs are fatal or serious. About four in ten of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), driving while tired may be responsible for one in five of all accidents and up to a quarter of serious and fatal collisions and around 6,300 drivers’ hours fines were given to HGV drivers by the DVSA between April 2015 and March 2016.

The new rules give power back to the authorities and provide an effective deterrent for drivers and operators that believe it is worth taking a risk with drivers’ hours for commercial gain.

Source: Police Professional

 

Posted on: 26.09.2017

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