Cases where drivers and operators have been fined by the DVSA or sanctioned by the traffic commissioners are often reported by Commercialmotor.com. But what were the most common offences committed by HGV drivers and operators last year? According to the DVSA's vehicle enforcement data for the UK, these were the 10 most commonly reported HGV offences in 2015/2016.
10. Vehicle excise duty
In 2015/16 15 trucks were stopped because operators had not paid vehicle excise duty (VED), down from 19 the previous year. In each case the operator was convicted, up from 13 in 2014/15. The average fine for a VED offence fell to just £19.33 last year (2014/15: £118.08).
9. Other O-licence offences
The agency said 32 of the offences it detected last year could be considered as falling into the “other O-licence” category, up from 15 in 2014/15. The number of convictions secured increased from 10 to 29, while the average fine handed out almost doubled; from £603.10
in 2014/15 to £1,193.10 in 2015/16.
Miscellaneous offences, which could include cabotage offences or issues with community authorisations, accounted for 32 of the offences examiners witnessed in 2015/16, down from 104 the year before. Despite not only being fairly uncommon in comparison to offences such as drivers’ hours breaches, such issues appear to be the most difficult for the DVSA to secure a conviction on; just 75% resulted in the operator receiving a prohibition of some sort.
7. Plating and testing
Examiners continued to see a reduction in the number of plating and testing offences being committed by HGV operators in 2016, which could include not having a test certificate in force or failing to display plates. The total number reported fell by almost half from 94 in 2014/15
to 48 in 2015/16, while the conviction rate remained static at 89%.
6. Construction and use
Construction and use offences, which include most mechanical vehicle defects, made up 78 of the offences detected by the DVSA last year. The conviction rate, however, increased from 80.5% to 83.5% and 66 drivers and operators received a prohibition for a construction and use offence.
5. Vehicle overloading
The number of overloading incidents witnessed by examiners fell dramatically last year. There was a 48% decline in reported overloading between 2014/15 and 2015/16, but the number of incidents remained significant, with 82 trucks found to have been overloaded. Some 91.4% of overloading offences in 2015/16 resulted in a prohibition being issued to the operator or driver, down slightly from 93.6% the year before.
4. No O-licence
Businesses using trucks without permission was the fourth most common offence in 2015/16. The number of reported incidents of trucks being operated commercially without an O-licence fell by a quarter to 134 last year, down from 178 the year before. The total number of convictions also fell to 115 from 162 in 2014/15.
3. Driving licence offences
Driving without HGV entitlement or having the incorrect entitlement on a driving licence, continued to be an issue last year, although the number of occurrences lagged far behind that of drivers’ hours and tachograph shortcomings. The number of drivers or operators found to have driven without the correct licence dropped from 266 in 2014/15 to 183 last year. Convictions also fell from 246 to 168.
2. Tachograph/records offences
Tachograph and records falsification instances reported by the DVSA remained a close second to drivers’ hours offences. A total of 1,131 tachograph or records offences were detected in 2015/16, down 19.4% from the previous year. Some 892 convictions for tachograph offences were secured, down 22% on the year before.
RHA director of policy Jack Semple says tachograph falsification, particularly among overseas drivers, is
a concern and tougher sanctions need to be put in
place to deter drivers and operators from offending. He says it should carry a much heavier fine, and the operators involved should have their trucks detained. “There is a clear problem among non-UK operators and falsification is by far the most serious [offence],” he adds.
1. Drivers’ hours offences
Drivers' hours offending continued to top the list last year. Some 1,532 drivers’ hours breaches were reported by the DVSA in 2015/16, 46.8% of the total number of offences detected. Most resulted in a conviction (90.4%), with the average fine for a drivers’ hours breach increasing slightly from £116.18 in 2014/15 to £119.36 in 2015/16.