Beginning on 5 March, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) traffic examiners will begin issuing on-the-spot fines to any lorry, bus or coach drivers for drivers’ hours offences committed in the last 28 days, such as exceeding daily driving limits or not taking enough breaks. Previously DVSA examiners could only fine drivers for offences committed that day, or ongoing offences such as manipulating tachograph records.
If drivers are caught breaking the rules, a DVSA traffic examiner can fine them up to £300. However, in a single roadside check, the traffic examiner can now issue fines for up to five separate offences, which means a driver could be fined up to £1,500. This applies no matter where the offence occurred.
What’s the Problem?
Driving tired is a serious problem. About 40 per cent of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles, while driving tired is responsible for 20 per cent of all accidents, and up to 25 per cent of all serious and fatal crashes, according to government data.
What Rules Will DVSA be Scrutinising?
Here are the rules that the DVSA will be enforcing:
- Drivers (and employers) cannot and will not manipulate tachograph records.
- Drivers can work an average of 48 hours, but no more than 60 hours in a single week.
- Drivers can drive no more than 10 hours each night, unless there is a workforce agreement to work longer.
- Drivers must take a 30-minute break for every six to nine hours of work. If drivers work more than nine hours, they must take a 45-minute break. (Note: Breaks can be broken up into 15-minute segments.)
- Drivers must take a 45-hour rest break at least once every two weeks. Since 1 November 2017, DVSA has the authority to fine drivers up to £300, if they spend their full weekly rest breaks parked in places where it causes a problem, such as a layby.
- Drivers must take their weekly rest after six consecutive 24-hour periods of working.
- Drivers must not take their weekly rest breaks completely in the cab of their lorry.
What Counts as Work?
Here is what the DVSA considers work for drivers:
- Delays at a distribution centre
- Time spent travelling in the vehicle, but only if no work is carried out, such as navigating
- Reporting for work before being informed that no duties are to be undertaken for a specified period
- Accompanying a vehicle being transported by boat or train
How Can I Comply?
If your organisation employs lorry, bus or coach drivers, or you yourself are a driver, here is some simple guidance to help you comply with the DVSA’s driving rules:
- Plan where in your route you will take your breaks as well as daily and weekly rests.
- Be aware of the signs of fatigue, which include restlessness, lapses in attention and dizziness.
- Get a good night’s rest and avoid indulging in too much caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants.
Be Smart, Be Mindful, Be Safe
To speak to an expert about insuring your lorry, bus or coach, contact our commercial vehicle team today.