DVSA Introduces New Fines for Drivers’ Hours Rest Rules
Driver fatigue is thought to be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road accidents, so it’s unsurprising that the DVSA has announced new rules targeting HGV drivers who spend too long on the roads. Commercial HGV drivers are required to use tachographs to record the hours they spend driving, resting and working.
However, the agency has also thrown a curveball, with £300 fines to be levied on truckers found snoozing in their cabs too.
Currently, the DVSA can only fine drivers for drivers’ hours offences that have been committed that day, or for “ongoing offences”, such as stroking a tachograph with a powerful magnet.
But the agency is being given new powers to issue on-the-spot fines for drivers’ hours offences committed in the last 28 days.
And it won’t just be for one offence. A DVSA officer gets five bites of the cherry, meaning you could be staring at a £1,500 bill if you’re the Kim Jong-Un of drivers’ hours rule breaking.
And your country of origin will have no bearing on the outcome either. Non-GB drivers will have to pay the fine immediately, or they will have their vehicle immobilised until they pay.
Weekly Rest – Drivers’ Hours Rules
This brings us on to drivers that the DVSA considers are not properly resting.
An argument currently raging in the haulage industry is where a driver should be taking their 45-hour weekly rest.
The European Court of Justice recently found that the break should not be taken in a cab.
Some countries are vigorously enforcing this finding, but the UK has remained relatively unconcerned, until now.
As of 1 November, the DVSA will start issuing £300 fines if a driver is found to be taking their weekly rest in their vehicle, but only “in places where it causes a problem”.
This could be in a layby, or on a slip road, or anywhere that reminds the public that all of our possessions were once pawed by – the horror! – a lorry driver.
The move suggests the government is taking a middle ground approach.
It’s not completely outlawing the practice (operators and sleeper cab manufacturers would be miffed) but neither is it sending out a signal that the UK is one large, penalty-free bed for all drivers to snuggle up in.
However, the trouble with this strategy is that it is ill-defined. It could prompt different interpretations and legal disputes over what constitutes appropriate parking and what is considered a problem.
For more information or advice on the new fines for drivers hours, call 0330 1330 081, or fill in our contact form.