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  • Drivers Hours. Changes to fines from 5 March 2018

    Drivers hours changes to fines

    From Monday 5th March this year, the DVSA has announced that lorry bus and coach drivers who drive tired will be fined for every time they have done it in the last 28 days.

    This means that under the new plans a driver can be fined on the spot for up to 5 driver’s hour offences up to the value of £1,500, as opposed to the current £300 capped fine.

    What are the current rules for driver’s hours?

    Currently the DVSA can only fine drivers for offences that were committed that day or ongoing offences like manipulating tachograph records. However, the introduction of new regulations mean that more emphasis is being put on repeating offenders in an attempt to protect against unsafe drivers.

    6,300 driver’s hours fines were given to lorry drivers between April 2015 and March 2016, whilst a large majority continue to repeat-offend.

    What do the changes in regulations mean to your business?

    Under the new regulations driver’s vehicles can be immobilised until payment is made and they can be prosecuted, meaning that a fleet with several (or even just one) offending driver will feel the impact of the changes to their business.

    In addition to this, since November 2017, DVSA traffic examiners have also started fining drivers who don’t take their rest properly. Within the guidelines, lorry, bus and coach drivers must take a 45- hour rest break very fortnight.

    However, some resting options do not provide adequate sleep and continually cause local community issues from illegal parking and disturbance. Therefore, drivers spending their full break in the cab of the lorry within a layby is no longer classed as good enough rest.

    Facts behind the increased fines

    It is an unfortunate fact that almost a quarter of accidents involving lorries are fatal or of a serious nature. According to RoSPA a fifth of all driving incidents are due to driver fatigue and about 40% of sleep-related incidents involve commercial vehicles.

    What the DVSA have to say

    The DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewlllyn, says "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 a 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."

    These revised powers no mean that action can be taken against drivers who are found to have repeatedly ignored and disobeyed the road safety laws, putting innocent lives at risk.

    We recommend that your business keeps up-to- date with drivers hours rules and guidance and regular communications on driver hours and the severity of breaking these rules are issued.

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