60 second law update: drivers’ hours and tachographs

Over the last 12 months the DfT made some changes to drivers’ hours and tachograph rules, aimed at easing the burden on compliant operators.

Tachograph exemptions

From March 2015 those who drive HGVs not exceeding 7.5- tonnes GVW from time to time, carrying equipment for their own use, have been able to travel within 100km of their base without using a tachograph. The limit was formerly 50km and the change brought the UK in line with the rest of the EU.

This exemption also covers vehicles powered by electricity or natural or liquefied gas, provided they don’t exceed 7.5 tonnes, and “universal service providers”. Currently the only universal service provider is Royal Mail Group.

Operators taking or collecting live animals to or from livestock markets or farms, and to slaughterhouses, are also covered by the exemption but must abide by the GB drivers’ hours rules rather than EU legislation.

Downloading vehicle digital data

The government also snuck in an extension to the digital vehicle data download limit, which was increased from 56 to 90 days.

Like the aforementioned tachograph exemptions, this was a change to coordinate UK law with EU rules. The limit in other EU countries was relaxed to 90 days in 2010.

Drivers’ cards will still need to be downloaded at least every 28 days, the DVSA stressed.

EU regulation 165/2014 – Tachographs

Earlier this month the DfT published the results in its consultation into the implementation of EU regulation 165/2014, which ran from March to May 2015. The regulation mainly concerned the new generation of digital tachographs.

The changes brought in will have only a minor effect on most operators. One of the major changes is the extension to the exemption to Driver CPC regulations for people who drive only from time to time.

In its response to the consultation, the DfT said:

  • Temporary driver cards will not be issued to drivers who are not normally based in the EU, unlike in other EU states;
  • There is broad support for making operators conditionally liable for drivers’ hours/tachograph offences committed by their employees;
  • Operators cannot have more than one tachograph fitted in a vehicle;
  • Domestic legislation will be amended to make advertising tachograph interruption devices an offence;
  • No changes will be made to the current penalty structure for tachograph offences.


Worker hit by car while assisting reversing HGV

A Shropshire operator must pay £12,500 in fines and costs after a worker died while attempting to assist a reversing truck.

On 27 January, Mold Crown Court was told that Philip Ledward was hit by a passing car while assisting one of Arkenfield Stable Hire’s HGV drivers to manoeuvre the vehicle.

He received fatal injuries from the incident, which happened in November 2011 at the operator’s Boundary Garage, Ellesmere Road, Bronington premises.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company, which holds O-licences authorising up to six vehicles and six trailers across two operating centres, did not have a system in place to control the movement of workplace transport safely.

Arkenfield Stable Hire, of Birch House, Back Lane, Coton, Whitchurch, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £7,500 with £5,000 in costs.

HSE inspector Damian Corbett said after the hearing: “Workplace transport continues to be a major cause of fatal and serious injury. Estimates suggest that up to one-third of all road traffic accidents involve someone who is at work at the time.”