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Steeper Fines for Drivers' Hours Offenders

The DVSA announced big changes to drivers' hours penalties for commercial drivers. Tough new rules affect the driving hours for bus, coach, and lorry drivers.

DVSA DRIVERS HOURS: There are many driving rules that lorry, bus, and coach drivers need to follow.

Some of the most significant include how many hours they can drive and how many rest breaks they must take.

Commercial drivers who get caught ‘driving tired‘ also get fined. One of the new rules means they will get fined for every time they offended in the previous 28 days.

DVSA stands for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. DVSA traffic examiners can fine drivers up to £300 for a breach of drivers’ hours rules.

Note: In some cases, the driver can also get prosecuted or have their vehicle immobilised.

The DVSA have limitations on the number of fines handed out for driving hours offences. Thus, under the older regulations they can only penalise drivers for:

  • DVSA Drivers’ hours offences committed on that particular day.
  • Ongoing offences (e.g. breaching tachograph driving regulations or manipulating tacho records).

Drivers Fined for Older Offences

DVSA traffic examiners can use the new powers to issue on-the-spot fines. That applies to any driving hours offences drivers have committed in the last 28 days.

Traffic examiners can issue fines for up to 5 drivers’ hours offences in a single roadside check. In theory, that means commercial drivers could get fined up to £1,500 per check.

Note: Driver’ hours offenders can get fined even if the offences took place outside Great Britain. The same rules apply to drivers who do not live in Great Britain. But, they must pay any fines immediately before they continue their journey. DVSA have the legal right to immobilise the vehicle until the penalty gets paid.

Start Date for the New Rules

The DVSA announced the start date for the rules’ change on driving hours. The rules change from the 5th of March 2018 for lorry, bus, and coach drivers. So, drivers and vehicle operators need to be aware of the steeper penalties.

Deterring Drivers from Not Resting Properly

Drivers' Hours Offenders Handed Steeper Fines by DVSA in the United KingdomThere are further new rules apart from giving fines to drivers for recent offences. DVSA traffic examiners will also be issuing fines to deal with drivers who fail to rest ‘properly‘.

There are specific rules for driving Lorries, buses, or coaches. Commercial drivers must take a 45-hour rest break at least every fortnight.

DVSA will start handing out steeper fines from the 1st of November 2017. Drivers who spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle in places where it causes a problem will get fined £300. An example could be spending a full break in the cab of their lorry in a layby.

Illegal Parking, Noise, and Litter Nuisance

There are problems associated with spending the weekly rest break inside the cab. The most significant would be cases where it:

  • Contributes to drivers not getting proper rest periods.
  • Exposes commercial drivers to poor living conditions.

Spending long periods in a lorry cab can also cause localised community issues. Some lorry drivers park illegally or in an inappropriate location on their 45-hour break.

Residents file official complaints about commercial drivers. They claim drivers abuse the littering laws, making loud noise, and perform acts of anti-social behaviour.

Note: Kent authorities took action against 3,700 lorry drivers for illegal or inappropriate parking in 2016.

DVSA Targeting Problem Areas

DVSA traffic examiners will target areas where it causes the biggest problems. Typical places include laybys and residential areas. They are also working with their counterparts in other countries. They plan on dealing with overseas operators whose drivers also cause these problems.

Consequences of Driving Tired

There are devastating consequences to most serious road accidents. But, crashes involving tired lorry drivers often highlights the devastation. Almost 25% of injuries in accidents involving Lorries are either fatal or serious.

Around 40% of all sleep-related road accidents involve commercial vehicles. Most of this data comes from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. In fact, RoSPA also say that driving while tired may be responsible for:

  • 20% (1 in 5) of all road traffic accidents.
  • Up to 25% of all serious and fatal road crashes.

Without doubt, this causes devastation to families and communities. But, road collisions cost the economy around £16.3 billion a year. Not to mention the extra pressure placed on the NHS and the emergency services.

Data Source: Further figures got released by vehicle enforcement data for Great Britain. They say the DVSA issued around 6,300 bus, lorry, and coach drivers’ hours fines between April 2015 and March 2016.


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Commercial Drivers’ Hours Offenders Handed Steeper Fines by DVSA in the United Kingdom