DVSA Clamp down on Drivers’ Hours Offences
12 months on from the DVSA’s decision to increase their jurisdiction in issuing Graduated Fixed Penalties, the enforcement agency have published staggering statistics which reinforces their desire to take’ tougher action against tired drivers who exceed their drivers’ hours.’
In March 2018, the DVSA announced that they would be issue Graduated Fixed Penalties for Drivers’ Hours Offences committed over a 28 day period as opposed to previously only being able to issue them on the day in question. This move did seem to make sense, as drivers are required to carry 28 days worth of driving data on them in the form of Analogue Charts or a Digital Tachograph Card. The negative connotations, from a Driver’s perspective, are that they could be issued with an on-the-spot fine for a mistake they made 4 weeks ago.
So what have we learned?
In a nutshell, this has resulted in a huge increase in the amount of graduated fixed penalties issued to drivers. From March 2018 to March 2019 the amount of fixed penalties issued for hours offences increased by 465% to 19,723 with an increase in fines by 763% to £3,653,450. Massive Increases!
Why Have the DVSA done this?
The regular assumption we get from Driver’s is that this is purely for the DVSA’s financial benefit. DVSA are very quick to quash these rumours, stating:
‘ To be clear, this isn’t about raising money – all money received from fixed penalties goes to the Treasury. We want to make sure it doesn’t pay to break drivers’ hours rules. Being able to issue more fines for more offences sends a clear message – take your breaks.’
In our opinion, this should act as a deterrent for operators and drivers who do think about deliberately breaching the rules. The driver is hit with the fine personally and there should be ramifications against the operator where there are regular offences.
How to avoid Graduated Fixed Penalties?
As a driver you have exceeded your 4 1/2 hours by 2 minutes, will I get a graduated fixed penalty?
Don’t forget, you can do a print out at the time of your misdemeanour to explain why this has happened, explain the situation on the back, sign it and keep it with you for 28 days. Remember, there must be a justifiable reason for breaking the rules, and it doesn’t automatically guarantee you will avoid a fine- it is at the examiner’s discretion.
Ultimately then, best practice is to follow the rules, know your drivers’ hours and make sure you follow them to the best of your ability, 100% of the time.