DVSA traffic examiners will soon have the powers to issue on-the-spot fines to lorry, bus or coach drivers who drive tired.
From 5 March 2018, DVSA examiners will also be able to give fines for any ‘drivers’ hours offences’ committed in the previous 28 days. Under current law, examiners are ‘virtually powerless’ to take action for offences committed other than on the day the vehicle is stopped.
Examiners will be able to issue fines for up to five drivers’ hours offences – meaning a driver could be fined up to £1,500 in a single check.
Lorry, bus and coach drivers will also be fined if they fail to take a 45-hour rest break at least every fortnight.
Under existing laws, the DVSA can only fine drivers up to £300 for offences committed that day, and for ongoing offences such as manipulating tachograph records.
The new rules will also apply to drivers who don’t live in Great Britain, and also British drivers when they are driving abroad.
Between April 2015 and March 2016, 6,300 drivers’ hours fines were given to lorry drivers by the DVSA.
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “These tougher fines will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break drivers’ hours rules and will help make our roads safer.
“There’s no excuse for driving while tired. The results of falling asleep at the wheel of 40 tonne lorry can be devastating to families and communities.
“Any driver breaking these rules is putting other road users at risk and could face losing their licence and livelihood.”
James Firth, the Freight Transport Association’s head of licensing policy and compliance information, said: “For some years, DVSA officers have been virtually powerless to take effective action against non-UK HGV drivers who may have committed a string of offences in the days and weeks before the vehicle is stopped.
“These new powers mean the enforcement authorities will be more able – and more likely – to take action against all drivers who are found to have repeatedly flouted these critical road safety laws.”