DVSA examiners will be given the power to issue fines for historical drivers’ hours offences and for breaches to weekly rest rules.
Examiners will be able to issue on-the-spot fines of £300 for up to five drivers’ hours offences committed in the previous 28-day period. This means they could face a total fine of up to £1,500 for historical offences.
The sanctions will apply to both domestic and overseas-based HGV drivers and will cover offences committed in the UK and abroad.
Non-UK-based drivers will need to pay their fine before continuing their journey and will have their vehicle immobilised until they pay.
The DVSA will also begin issuing a £300 fine to drivers who spend their weekly rest in their cab in places where it can cause an issue, such as a lay-by or residential area.
The agency said spending the weekly rest in a cab can contribute to drivers not taking a proper break and can expose them to poor living conditions. In some areas, residents have also complained about noise, litter and anti-social behaviour.
It has not yet announced the date the changes will come into effect, but said this would be well publicised so drivers and operators are aware of the penalties.
DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said the tougher fines will help it to take stronger action against drivers or operators who break drivers’ hours rules.
“There’s no excuse for driving while tired. The results of falling asleep at the wheel of a 40 tonne lorry can be devastating to families and communities. Any drivers breaking these rules is putting other road users at risk and could face losing their licence and livelihood,” he said.
The FTA’s head of licensing policy and compliance information, James Firth, 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.”