The DVSA will start issuing on-the-spot penalties to lorry drivers who repeatedly break drivers’ hours rules from March 5.
The new regulations, which were first announced in 2017, will allow DVSA examiners to fine drivers up to £300 for each breaches of drivers’ hours rules, up to a maximum of five (£1,500 per examiner).
At the moment, DVSA can only fine drivers for offences committed that day, or ongoing offences, such as manipulating tachograph records. Under the current rules, DVSA has to take offenders to court for earlier offences. The process can be costly and time-consuming, and drivers without a UK address do not always respond to a summons.
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “There’s no excuse for driving while tired. The results of falling asleep at the wheel of can be devastating. Any driver or operator breaking these rules is putting other road users at risk.
“These tougher penalties will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break the law, helping keep the public safe on Britain’s roads.”
Drivers who don’t live in the UK will have to pay any penalties before continuing on their journey. If necessary, their vehicle will be immobilised until they’ve done so.
The DVSA has network of 67 enforcement sites on the strategic road network, many linked to ports.
“We welcome enforcement that increases road safety and ensures drivers get their rest breaks,” said RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett. “And it will certainly help DVSA get a grip on drivers who’ve crossed into the UK having driven long distances without sufficient breaks before they’ve got here.”
“Whilst we support action against firms who deliberately flout drivers’ hours rules, we also call on the Government to address the urgent need for more lorry parking areas so that drivers have somewhere secure to rest.”
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says that driving while tired may be responsible for one in five of all accidents and up to a quarter of serious and fatal crashes. About 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles, according to Think! Crashes involving tired lorry drivers can be particularly devastating. Almost a quarter of injuries caused by accidents involving lorries are fatal or serious, compared to one in eight for crashes as a whole.
Posted on: February 12th 2018