Rules will be changed so lorry, bus and coach drivers who drive tired will be fined for every time they’ve done it in the last 28 days.
If you drive a lorry, bus or coach, you must follow rules on how many hours you can drive and the breaks you need to take.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can fine drivers up to £300 if they are caught breaking the rules. They can also be prosecuted or have their vehicle immobilised.
At the moment, DVSA can only fine drivers for:
- offences committed that day
- ongoing offences, like manipulating tachograph records, which record drivers hours
Drivers will be fined for older offences
DVSA traffic examiners will be given new powers to issue on-the-spot fines for any drivers hours offences committed in the last 28 days.
In a single roadside check, DVSA traffic examiners will be able to issue fines for up to 5 driver’s 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 will also apply to drivers who don’t live in Great Britain. However, they’ll need to pay any fines immediately, before being allowed to continue their journey. DVSA will immobilise their vehicle until they pay.
When the rules will change
The exact date the rules will change be confirmed nearer the time.
The change will be well-publicised so drivers and vehicle operators are fully aware of the penalties.
Guidance about drivers hours rules will also be updated.
Fines to deter drivers from not resting properly
As well as giving fines to drivers for recent offences, DVSA traffic examiners will start issuing fines to deal with drivers who don’t properly rest.
Lorry, bus and coach drivers must take a 45-hour rest break at least every fortnight.
From 1 November 2017, DVSA will start to fine drivers up to £300 if they spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle in places where it causes a problem. For example, if a lorry driver spends their full break in the cab of their lorry in a layby.
Illegal parking, noise and litter nuisance
Spending the weekly rest break in the cab can:
- contribute to drivers not properly resting
- expose drivers to poor living conditions
It can also cause problems in local communities. In some areas, lorry drivers have parked illegally or inappropriately while taking the 45-hour break, and have caused residents to complain about noise, litter and anti-social behaviour.
During 2016, authorities in Kent took action against 3,700 lorry drivers for parking illegally or inappropriately.
Targeting problem areas
DVSA traffic examiners will target places where this is causing the biggest problems, such as residential areas and laybys.
DVSA will also work with its counterparts in other countries to deal with overseas operators whose drivers regularly do this.