The RHA’s recent call for tougher sentences for drivers that deliberately falsify their tachograph records provoked plenty of comment. The United Road Transport Union were quick to point out that some drivers are increasingly being “bullied and harassed by unscrupulous employers into exceeding their hours in order to complete a journey on their employers’ behalf.”
The recent case of the Feltham truck driver sentenced to eight months in prison for abusing drivers’ hours regulations shows that tough sentences are already being applied for serious offences.
Following an investigation by VOSA the defendant pleaded guilty to seventy nine offences of creating false drivers’ hours records in an attempt to show that he had taken the rest that is required by the drivers’ hours law. Two methods were employed to make the bogus records. A fake name was created to make it appear as though someone else had been driving and on other occasions he removed the tachograph chart which automatically records the driver’s hours.
In sentencing, His Honour Judge Goodin said “Driving a large HGV is a lethal weapon in the hands of a tired driver. The regulations ensure public safety and a level playing field. In your case you were driving for 24 hours and over 600 kilometers over a 24 hour period without proper rest, and another occasion of 18 hours continuous driving. Despite being stopped and having a warning given to you by VOSA officers you still continued driving and committing offences.”
Heather Crucikshank, VOSA’s Operations Director said “Tired drivers are dangerous drivers. Not taking enough rest can lead to serious accidents and that is why driver’s hour’s rules are in place to protect road users. This case highlights the serious consequences of breaching drivers’ hour’s regulations.”
This conviction came the day after the RHA called for tougher sentencing. Driver’s hours regulations exist to protect the HGV driver and public on our roads. It also helps to create a level playing field for fair competition between hauliers.
Posted on: 28.08.2012