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Extended fines for over hours driving

Published: 29/03/18

Extended fines for over hours driving

Commercial drivers should be aware that as of 5 March 2018, DVSA traffic examiners will start issuing on-the-spot fines for any drivers' hours offences committed in the last 28 days. Prior to this date drivers could only be fined for offences committed that day. So, whilst the £300 fine hasn't changed, the amount a driver might be charged for past offences could be considerably more. 

About the changes the DVSA says:

“In a single roadside check, DVSA traffic examiners will issue fines for up to 5 drivers' hours offences. It means you could be fined up to £1,500 in a single check if you've consistently broken the rules.

“It won't matter if the offences took place in Great Britain or elsewhere.

“The rules apply to drivers who don't live in Great Britain.”

Any fine issued will need to be paid immediately, before being allowed to continue their journey. The vehicle will be immobilised until they pay.

Driver resting under scrutiny

As well as giving fines for multiple hours infringements, DVSA traffic examiners have started looking at how and where drivers rest.

Lorry, bus and coach drivers must take a 45-hour rest break at least every fortnight.

Since November 2017, DVSA has started to fine drivers who spend their full weekly rest break in their cab or vehicle, they are also particularly looking at the location where the driver stops, to see if that is causing a problem.

The DVSA says that spending the weekly rest break in the cab can:

“contribute to drivers not properly resting” and “expose drivers to poor living conditions”

Devastating consequences of driving tired

Crashes involving tired lorry drivers can be devastating. Almost a quarter of injuries in accidents involving lorries are fatal or serious. 

About 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles. 

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) driving while tired maybe be responsible for:

  • 1 in 5 of all accidents
  • up to a quarter of serious and fatal crashes

6,300 drivers' hours fines were given to lorry drivers by DVSA between April 2015 and March 2016.

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 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.”

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.”

Targeting problem areas

Where drivers park and how they behave whilst doing so has caused problems within local communities. Local authorities have received complaints from residents about noise, litter and anti-social behaviour. 

During 2016, authorities in Kent took action against 3700 lorry drivers for parking illegally or inappropriately. It's clear that it is this sort of behaviour they are wishing to clamp down on and we are told DVSA traffic examiners will target the places that are causing the biggest problems, such as residential areas or lay-bys. 

The DVSA says that they will work with their counterparts in other countries to deal with overseas operators whose drivers regularly do this.


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