Tachograph and Drivers Hours Offences
The drivers hours rules and tachograph offences are a complicated business. If you’re a driver, you have a legal obligation to ensure you comply with the drivers hours rules. If you’re an operator and you don’t have systems in place for analysing your drivers’ tachographs, you can find yourself facing a huge number of allegations. Convicted drivers and operators may face severe penalties.
Of all the matters dealt with by DVSA (formerly VOSA), tachograph offences are the most frequently prosecuted in court. They’re also the offences for which drivers and their employers are most likely to face a possible custodial sentence if convicted. For this reason, drivers and operators should give tachographs the respect they deserve.
Many solicitors will shy away from dealing with these types of matters and have no knowledge of how tachographs even work. However, we have a full understanding of both analogue and digital tachographs, the way they work, and the evidence required to secure a successful prosecution.
Solicitor Lucy Whitaker formerly prosecuted for DVSA but now carries out only defence work. We are familiar with the enforcement policies used by DVSA. Therefore, we can identify when DVSA or the Police have not followed them correctly. This means we may be able to persuade the authorities to withdraw an allegation.
Have DVSA/the Police followed the correct procedures? If they have, we can advise on the best way to deal with an interview under caution. If the interview has already taken place, we can assist with the court hearing itself.
We will find a defence if there is one. If we think DVSA can prove the allegations, we’ll assist in keeping any penalties to a minimum. Remember, it’s not just the criminal courts you have to think of, it’s the public inquiry or vocational driving licence hearing you’ll inevitably face if you don’t deal with things in the right way.
What are the penalties for Drivers Hours & Tachograph offences?
None of the offences carry penalty points, but they do carry fines and some even carry potential imprisonment.
Most drivers hours offences such as failing to take a rest after 4.5 hours driving, driving exceeding the daily maximum, weekly/daily rest offences, carry fines of up to £2,500 per offence. The Magistrates’ Courts deal with these offences.
The most serious allegations are:
- Knowingly making false tachograph records, or;
- Failing without reasonable excuse to make a record or entry.
The Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court can deal with either of these offences. The Crown Court has the power to send an individual to prison for up to two years for these types of offences. The Crown Court can also issue an unlimited fine.
We can also provide advice to operators on how to deal with drivers who commit infringements. We can assist by putting in place bespoke policies and procedures to promote consistency. You don’t need to wait until something goes wrong to get in touch.