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Embracing DVSA Regulations

As heavily compliant hauliers striving for perfection and representing our customers in the way we would want to be represented we know the importance of rules and regulations. Ensuring that our drivers don’t overrun their driving hours and making sure they do not fail to take mandatory breaks are elements in our compliance we are extremely strict on.

Tired or fatigued drivers in charge of large vehicles can not only be dangerous to themselves but also to other road users.  They will also not be fresh, polite and fully representative of our business, and indeed yours!

All professional drivers are responsible for managing their own driving hours and breaks. To help them to understand the “Drivers’ Hours and Working Time” procedures they are now required by law to train and gain a Driver CPC qualification which must be maintained with 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years, this aims to improve road safety and maintain high driving standards.

It’s not just up to the driver though. Transport companies are also responsible for checking and ensuring that their drivers adhere to the rules and regulations of “Drivers Hours and Working Time Directives” whilst in their employment. The consequences of failing to understand and obey these rules could be catastrophic to both driver and haulier.  Failure to comply could result in the haulier either losing or having their “Operators Licence” revoked. Thus they will no longer be allowed to trade, and the driver could lose their license entirely (work and personal car!).

Helpfully there is a governing body aiding hauliers and drivers to enforce the rules on drivers’ hours whilst out on the road, they are known as “The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency” or DVSA for short.

Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency logo

Initially DVSA examiners could only issue roadside fines for ongoing drivers’ hours offenses that were still happening at the time of the check. If they saw any offenses before that they needed to take the driver to court to enforce a fine. This proved far more difficult and extremely expensive, especially when attempting to get a non-UK driver to a court hearing.

In March 2018, DVSA examiners were handed the power, at any single roadside check, to issue on-the-spot fines for up to five drivers hours offenses committed over the preceding four weeks (at up to £300 per offense).

The DVSA state that by casting a wider net they have caught more offenses and have therefore issued more fines.  Thus sending a clear message to drivers that it doesn’t pay to break drivers hours rules and ensuring that they take their breaks!!

This change means that drivers can now face fines of up to £1,500 on a single occasion if persistent rule-breaking is uncovered, whether it occurred in Great Britain or elsewhere. Non-GB-resident drivers risk having their trucks immobilised if they do not pay the fines immediately.

These changes have yielded massive dividends, says DVSA. In the year prior to the changes, the agency issued 4,236 fixed penalties for drivers’ hours offenses, totaling £478,400. But in the first year since the changes, this rose to 19,723 penalties, accruing a total of £3,653,450 for the Treasury.

So what about post brexit! Fleet operators expecting the government to take a more relaxed approach to drivers’ hours after Brexit should think again, regulations have now been put in place to change EU drivers’ hours into domestic law in post-Brexit context, so there will be no change for drivers from the existing regulations, the rules will remain the same.

The contingency plans being put in place to allow cross-border haulage to continue after Brexit require complete continuity and parity with the EU on drivers hours laws.

The regulations on the haulage market currently being discussed foresee a continuation of equivalent rules for drivers’ hours and tachographs, and includes draft provisions to reduce or terminate market access without those equivalent provisions.  So they are important, even under the limited access provided by ECMT permits. We also need to adhere to international standards.

On enforcement, parts of the tachograph rules and the current regime of drivers’ hours offenses in the UK would not continue to be enforceable in respect of much of the commercial road transport in the UK [without these regulations]. Some of these breaches of the rules are incredibly serious, including the fraudulent manipulation of tachographs, so the rules are important to public safety.

Baroness Sugg told peers that, while in the long-term, the UK would not be obliged to remain aligned to EU tachograph rules, the regulations do oblige the UK to remain aligned, as a contracting party, to AETR (European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport) rules – to which the EU rules are themselves currently aligned.

“The majority of the changes here are to ensure that there are explicit domestic provisions, including offenses and penalties, to fully implement the AETR agreement,” she continued.

“The costs on business will not change as a result of these regulations. The effect of the rules will be the same: behaviour which is legal will continue to be allowed, and illegal behaviour will continue to be prohibited. The regulations will enable the enforcement of the rules by the DVSA and the police to continue as at present.”

If you are looking for a highly compliant Haulier, one who represents your business in the way you deserve to be represented just pick up the phone and call Sussex Transport, we will be more than happy to help and advise in any way we can.

Call us now on 0800 915 23 23 or fill in one of our contact forms…