DVSA issues clarification over in-cab weekly rest fines
The DVSA has clarified how it will enforce the ban on drivers taking their full weekly rest period in their cabs, assuring drivers that they will still be able to rest at a truck stop.
In a clarification issued to the RHA, DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said the agency will only impose sanctions on drivers taking their full weekly rest in cabs on or adjacent to public roads, such as lay-bys, or places with no toilets, showers or food facilities.
Drivers will still legally be able to take overnight or reduce weekly rest periods in their trucks. A full 45-hour weekly rest period, taken in whole or in part in a cab outside of a formal rest area, will not be considered legal.
From 1 November, drivers and operators found in breach of the rules may face:
- Financial penalty deposits (for non-UK drivers) or fixed penalty notices of £300;
- Prohibitions on the driver until the full weekly rest is properly taken;
- The reporting of operators to their licensing authorities, such as the traffic commissioners, including similar authorities abroad.
The DVSA will target areas where the problem is the “most intense”, including Kent and the approaches to certain ports.
Enforcement officers will examine tachograph records at times when drivers are not taking their weekly rest to make sure a weekly rest breach has not been committed.
If the driver or operator can prove that the full weekly rest was taken appropriately, then no action will be taken.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “It would be totally inappropriate to ban all in-cab weekly rests, the impact on UK international and long distance operators would have been catastrophic.
“The problem we have is with is inconsiderate, and sometimes illegal weekly rests taken where there are no facilities. That is bad for the public, for the reputation of the industry, for drivers’ health and for the safety of other road users.”
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Annandale Transport Co has O-licence curtailed to give it a final chance to stay compliant
A timber and animal waste product haulier has been given a final chance to show it is compliant after a series of failings were identified by the DVSA.
Scotland’s traffic commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken (pictured) found that effort was still required to ensure Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway-based Annandale Transport Co was fully compliant, but recent advances in systems and training had helped its case.
It has, however, received a formal warning and had its O-licence curtailed to 17 vehicles from 24 for three months from 31 October, and to 20 vehicles thereafter.
A public inquiry (PI) in July was told that the company’s vehicles attracted 12 roadworthiness prohibitions between June 2012 and June 2017, including one following a wheel loss incident on the M6 in 2013.
Numerous occasions of driving without a card had been identified; prohibitions had been issued for insecure tachograph equipment; a driver had used the incorrect mode switch; tachograph power supply failures had been noted; and a driver had also driven with another driver’s card inserted.
Driver Mark Sinclair, who had been removing his card and continuing to drive, was prosecuted at Chorley Magistrates’ Court last year. He pled guilty and was fined £1,200 with almost £500 in costs. He also had two speeding convictions, one whilst driving a fully-laden vehicle downhill.
A vehicle had also been driven whilst not specified on its O-licence and without road tax, and a truck was found to be overloaded.
Director and transport manager David John Hyslop told the PI that a number of improvements had been made including training staff on drivers’ hours monitoring; fitting on-board weighing units to its vehicles; downloading tachograph data regularly; and checking licences. Driver infringements are now read, understood, and signed.
Preventative maintenance inspections (PMI) also went over the six-week period stated on the firm’s O-licence, but Hyslop said this was because some vehicles had a visual check every two weeks and a maintenance sheet was not filled out.
The company now has its own in-house maintenance facility and it planned to have its own roller brake tester installed in three months.
Following a warning about annual test performance in 2015, none of Annandale Transport Co’s vehicles had failed their test.
The TC said the 100% pass rate and lack of S-marked prohibitions since November 2015 deserved praise, but found the firm had “departed in a serial manner” from ensuring that vehicles receive regular checks.
She also noted that Hyslop had behaved in an “intimidating and unpleasant” manner towards DVSA staff, but found that his attitude towards them had improved which had “saved the day”.
“I will give him a final chance to show that he can get his business to compliance by having the proper processes and giving disciplined and honest attention to such,” TC Aitken added.
She said driver Sinclair had been serially non-compliant and suspended his driving licence for 16 weeks from 27 October.
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