The DVSA can issue fixed penalties for offences that took place in the previous 28 days, as of today (1 February).
The offences covered include drivers hours offences and any breaches to the weekly rest rules.
Examiners are able to issue on-the-spot fines of £300 for up to five drivers’ hours offences in the previous 28 day period. This means that any one driver could face a total fine of £1,500 for historical offences.
The potential fines will apply to both UK and foreign HGV drivers and will cover offences committed both at home and abroad.
Non-UK drivers must pay their fine before continuing their journey and will have their vehicle immobilised until they pay.
Previously a penalty could only be issued to foreign-registered HGVs if enforcement staff detected the offence on that day. Although the DVSA and the police have had the ability to prosecute historical drivers’ hours offences committed by UK drivers, it was - until now - a cumbersome procedure and unlikely in regards non-UK resident offenders since they are not obliged to respond to a court summons issued in the UK.
The DVSA will also issue a £300 fine to drivers who spend their weekly rest in their cab in places where it causes an issue, such as a lay-by or residential area.
The agency said that spending weekly rests in their cab can contribute to drivers not taking a proper break and can expose them to poor living conditions.
In some areas residents have complained about noise, litter and anti-social behaviour.
DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn said that the tougher fines will help the agency to take firmer action against drivers who break the rules.
He said: “There is 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 are putting other road users at risk.”
The FTA welcomed the measure of taking action against non-UK HGV drivers who might have committed a string of offences in the days before a vehicle is stopped
Although the new powers come into force today, the DVSA will not begin actively enforcing them until March to allow time for a full 28 day liable period to build up.