Fines of up to £1,500 for commercial drivers that repeatedly flout law

New regulations are set to give “the power back” to Government officers to impose retrospective action on repeat-offenders in the commercial motoring sector.

Sep 25, 2017

New regulations are set to give “the power back” to Government officers to impose retrospective action on repeat-offenders in the commercial motoring sector. In future, lorry, bus and coach drivers who drive tired will be fined for every time they have exceeded their limits in the previous 28 days. Currently, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can only bring prosecutions for offences committed that day or ongoing offences, such as manipulating tachographs, which record drivers’ hours. But rule changes will see fines for older offences with DVSA traffic examiners given new powers to issue on-the-spot fines for any drivers’ hours offences committed in the month before. In a single roadside check, DVSA traffic examiners will be able to issue penalties for up to five drivers’ hours offences. Offenders could be fined up to £1,500 in a single check if they have consistently broken the rules. And it will not matter if the offences took place in the UK or elsewhere – with the rules also applying to drivers who do not live in Great Britain. However, a Government spokesperson explained that drivers will need to pay any fines immediately, before being allowed to continue their journey. The DVSA will be able to immobilise vehicles until fines are paid. The exact date the rules will change has yet to be confirmed, the DVSA said earlier this month. DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said its priority is to “protect from unsafe drivers and vehicles”. He added: “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. “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. As well as giving fines to drivers for recent offences, DVSA traffic examiners will start issuing fines to deal with drivers who do not properly rest. Lorry, bus and coach drivers must take a 45-hour rest break at least every fortnight. From the beginning of November, DVSA will start to fine drivers up to £300 if they spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle in places where it causes a problem, for example, in a layby. Data reveals crashes involving tired lorry drivers can be devastating. Almost a quarter of injuries in accidents involving lorries 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. Some 6,300 drivers’ hours fines were given to lorry drivers by DVSA between April 2015 and March 2016. James Firth, the Freight Transport Association’s Head of Licensing Policy and Compliance Information, said: “For some years, DVSA officers have been virtually powerless to take effective action against non-UK HGV drivers who may have committed a string of offences in the days and weeks before the vehicle is stopped. “These new powers mean the enforcement authorities will be more able – and more likely – to take action against all drivers who are found to have repeatedly flouted these critical road safety laws.”

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