New on-the-spot fines for tired lorry drivers to be introduced
Fines up to £300 will be given to lorry drivers caught breaching their tachograph limit
The Government is set to introduce tougher penalties for tired lorry drivers in a bid to reduce the number of motoring accidents involving freight and commercial vehicles.
New on-the-spot fines of up to £300 will be handed out to any lorry driver caught breaching their tachograph limit.
A lorry driver’s tachograph shows them how many hours per day they are allowed to do behind the wheel, as well as recording their speed.
If caught, any drivers from foreign countries travelling on UK roads will have to pay the fine before they’re allowed to continue with their journey and if they can’t pay, their vehicle will be immobilised until they can.
Parliament is putting forward this new proposal in a bid to reduce the number of accidents caused by over tired lorry drivers.
According to figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, driving whilst tired could be responsible for around one in five of all collisions.
Think!, the Department of Transport’s road safety information charity claims around 40% of all sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles and these type of incidents tend to increase the chances of causing life-changing injuries or death.
Statistically, almost a quarter of injuries caused by an accident in which HGVs are involved are serious or fatal – higher than the one in eight crash average.
As well as the sadness which follows such accidents for families and the local community, accidents of this nature cost the economy around £16.3billion per year, not to mention the extra pressure put on our emergency services and the NHS.
Under the new proposal, checks will be made on bus, coach and lorry drivers to ensure they’ve not gone over their designated hours behind the wheel over a long period.
Currently, the DVSA are only allowed to hand out fixed penalty notices if the lorry driver has gone over their designated hours for that day on their tachograph.
Drivers found exceeding their hours on previous days can be fined still but the offender has to be taken to court by the agency and this can be costly and often results in drivers from abroad ignoring the summons.
However, the Government’ new proposal would enable the DVSA to hand out on-the-spot fines to any driver caught in breach of their driving hours from over the last 28 days and each individual offence could mean a fine of up to £300.
Over a four week period only five breaches would be allowed which could cost the driver £1,500, after that the driver would have to go to court and the vehicle taken off the road.
“DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles. These tougher penalties will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break drivers’ hours rules and will help make our roads safer,” says DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn.
Currently, the DVSA carry out roadside checks along major motorways and A-roads, as well as at UK ports.
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