DVSA gets tough on HGV Drivers who exceed their hours limit

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has recently announced it is going to impose heavier sanctions on HGV drivers that exceed their hours limit.

As of the 5th March 2018, DVSA traffic examiners will start issuing on the spot fines for any HGV drivers who have committed an offence in the previous 28 days. Currently the rules state that drivers can only be fined for offences on the day they’re committed.

When the initiative starts, drivers run the risk of receiving a £300 fine, if caught breaking the rules, as well as potentially having their vehicle immobilised.

In a single roadside check, DVSA traffic examiners will be able to issue fines for up to five drivers hours offences. This could equate to a fine of up to £1500 in a ‘single stop’ and this applies to all drivers using UK roads, no matter which country the hours were exceeded in.

Many HGV drivers using the UK roads network come from abroad, and these rules will also apply to HGV drivers who don’t reside in Great Britain. If caught these drivers will need to pay their fine immediately before being allowed to continue their journey. The DVSA reserves the right to immobilise the vehicle until the fine is paid.

The new rules imposed by the Government, will give power to traffic examiners to issue fines to drivers who don’t rest properly as well. In the UK, lorry, bus and coach drivers must legally take a 45-hour rest break at least every fortnight.

In order to catch regular offenders, the DVSA has confirmed that it will be working with similar transport agencies in other countries, in a bid reduce the risk to UK road users.

According to a study conducted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), about 40% of sleep related accidents involve commercial vehicles, of which almost a quarter of those accidents result in a fatal outcome.

The study also revealed that road traffic accidents caused by commercial vehicles costs the UK economy an estimated £16.3 billion a year.

The staggering statistics lead the DVSA to issue 6300 fines to HGV drivers who abused drivers hours regulations between April 2015 and March 2016.

DVSA, Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn commented saying “Our priority will always to be to protect UK road users 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 are putting other road users at risk and could face losing their licence and livelihood.”

Mike Harris, Managing Director at Route4 Solutions added “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 rules will hopefully mean the enforcement authorities will be able to take action against all drivers who are found to have repeatedly flouted these critical road safety laws.”

Adding he said “At Route4 Solutions we take pride in our ability to track the hours our drivers are on the road. We take a very dim view on drivers who try to flout the law, as they are putting lives at risk and are adding to the problem of an already competitive market, in which the reliability and speed of delivery are a primary objective.”


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