Changes to fines for HGV drivers who drive tired will soon come in to affect. The rules will be changed so that a HGV driver can be fined for each time they have breached driver hours within the last 28 days.
At the moment DVSA
can fine drivers up to £300, have their vehicles immobilised or even prosecuted if they are caught breaking driver hours.
As it stands the DVSA can only fine a driver for:
• Offences committed on the day
• Ongoing offences such as tampering with tachograph records
But that will all be changing. DVSA will be given the power to issue on the spot fines to any HGV driver for any drivers hours offences that have been committed in the last 4 weeks. This means in a single roadside check the DVSA have the power to issue fines up to £1500 (5 drivers hours offences) for drivers who have regularly broken the drivers hours regulations, regardless of whether the offences occurred in the UK or anywhere else.
These new fines will also apply to foreign HGV drivers who are caught breaking the rules on UK roads. For foreign drivers who are not based in the UK they will have to pay their fines immediately then and there or they will not be allowed to continue their journey and the DVSA will immobilise their vehicle until such time the fine has been paid in full.
DVSA will also start issues fines to drivers who are not taking proper resting breaks. HGV drivers must have a 45 hour rest period a minimum of every fortnight. From next month DVSA will begin issuing fines up to £300 if drivers are spending their full weekly rest period in their vehicles, in places which could cause issues. For instance if a HGV driver spends their breaks in the cab of their vehicle in a layby.
Drivers spending their weekly rest breaks in their lorry cabs can contribute to them not resting properly and expose them to poor living conditions not to mention a bad life work balance.
Road traffic accidents involving tired HGV drivers can be devastating. Almost 25% of injuries in accidents involving HGVs are fatal or serious. About 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles.
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: "DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.
These tougher fines will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break drivers’ hours rules and will help make our roads safer.
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."
James Firth, the FTA
'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."
When the rules will change? The exact date that the rules will change will be confirmed nearer the time.
The change will be well-publicised so HGV drivers and haulage operators
are fully aware of the penalties.