Currently the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can only fine drivers for offences that they have committed that day, or for ongoing offences, such as manipulating tachograph records, which record drivers’ hours.
However, it has announced that the rules are to be changed so that lorry, bus and coach drivers who drive when tired will be fined for every time they have done so in the last 28 days.
DVSA traffic examiners are to be given new powers to issue on-the-spot fines for any drivers’ hours offences that have been committed over that period and this will apply to offences which took place in other countries as well as in Great Britain.
The rules will also apply to drivers who are not resident in Great Britain and they will need to pay any fines immediately, before being allowed to continue their journey. DVSA will immobilise their vehicles until they pay.
“In a single roadside check,” the DVSA said, “our traffic examiners will be able to issue fines for up to five drivers’ hours offences. It means you could be fined up to £1500 in a single check if you’ve consistently broken the rules”.
Although the exact date when the rules will change has yet to be confirmed, the Agency promised that it will be well-publicised so that drivers and vehicle operators are fully aware of the penalties.
As well as giving fines to drivers for recent offences, DVSA traffic examiners will start issuing fines to deal with drivers who fail to rest properly.
From 1 November 2017, it 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 lorry drivers spend their full break in the cab of their lorry in a lay-by.
Drivers are being urged to recognise the dangers of driving while dehydrated, which can have the same effects as drink driving.
Research conducted by vehicle leasing company, Leasing Options, has revealed that more than two in three (67%) UK drivers fail to recognise major symptoms of dehydration, including:
These and others can potentially put drivers and others at risk.
Health authorities recommend drinking around two litres of water a day, but Leasing Options found that 37% of those surveyed are only drinking one litre of water a day, with 18% drinking less than one litre a day.
The results of the survey also suggested that men are more aware of the risks involved than women, with 62% of male drivers admitting to being aware in comparison to 55% of female drivers.
Overall, 84% of drivers think drink driving is more dangerous than dehydrated driving, despite a study conducted by Loughborough University revealing that mild dehydration is equivalent to being over the drink driving limit with regard to its impact on driver errors.
Iain Temperton, Director of Communications at Road Safety GB, said: “Before you start a journey you should make sure your vehicle is prepared, but just as importantly you should ensure that you are ready and fit to drive.
“Driving on our ever more congested network is a task that requires full concentration. Making sure you are fully hydrated is a vital part of that process; the safety of vulnerable road users around you depends upon it.”
The Government will remove the exemption for the following categories of vehicle to undergo annual testing (MOT) where they are based on an HGV chassis:
- Mobile cranes;
- Break-down vehicles;
- Engineering plant and plant, not being engineering plant, which is movable plant or equipment being a motor vehicle or trailer (not constructed primarily to carry a load) especially designed and constructed for the special purposes of engineering operations;
- Trailers being drying or mixing plant designed for the production of asphalt or of bituminous or tarmacadam;
- Tower wagons;
- Road construction vehicles (but not road rollers and other specialised equipment not based on an HGV chassis);
- Electrically propelled motor vehicles registered since 1 March 2015;
- Tractor units pulling exempt trailers; and
- Motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives exempted under sections 185 and 186 (3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, where these are based on a HGV chassis.
The changes will be implemented through amendments to the Goods Vehicles (Plating and Testing) Regulations 1988. The legal changes will take effect from 20 May 2018. To view the full report, go to www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hgv-periodic-testing-and-inspections-exemptions