The DVSA will begin issuing £300 fines to drivers who take their 45-hour rest in their cab next month, and may ask drivers to restart their rest period.
The sanctions will begin on 1 November, following an opinion by the European Court of Justice which suggested that drivers who take their weekend break in their vehicle are breaching drivers’ hours rules.
During a parliamentary debate yesterday (11 October) transport secretary Jesse Norman said it was understandable that drivers would choose to take shorter rest breaks in their cab rather than a “cheap motel”, but the industry had to “draw the line somewhere”.
However, Gordon Henderson, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, said the law was not being properly enforced in the UK. In France, for example, drivers can be fined as much as £26,000 if they are found sleeping in their cab at the side of the road.
“That leaves British hauliers who have to operate overseas at a disadvantage,” Henderson added.
Norman said the government may also look at increasing the penalties, potentially up to £3,000, for the most serious offences, such as tachograph manipulation.
The FTA supported the need for drivers to take their weekly rest break away from their vehicles, but said the lack of secure parking facilities and roadside accommodation needed to be addressed.
Malcolm Bingham, the FTA’s head of road network policy, said: “Without a consistent, widespread network of safe and secure rest stops nationwide, drivers will still opt to take rest in their cabs particularly when their fully fitted cab offers a better standard than some accessible amenities.”
Under EU law, rest facilities should be located approximately every 100km across the European road network by 2030.
Bingham said: “Until there are enough facilities of a suitable and consistent standard, FTA is asking that drivers should be allowed to spend their weekly rest break in their vehicle, as long as it has suitable sleeping facilities and there are sanitary facilities nearby.”