Foreign drivers to face lesser sanctions than UK drivers over Driver CPC non-compliance

Foreign truck drivers who do not comply with Driver CPC requirements when driving in the UK will effectively only ever face a £30 roadside penalty – though UK drivers in the same situation could face fines of up to £1,000 as well as possible action against their driving licence, Vosa and the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) have confirmed.

Responding to queries by Commercialmotor.com, a spokesman for the enforcement agency admitted that while UK drivers who cannot produce a Driver Qualification Card (DQC) at the roadside will face a graduated fixed penalty (GFP) of £30, if a driver is found to be committing more than three offences, the matter may be reported to court, where a maximum penalty of £1,000 could be applied.

Repeat offending will also lead to traffic commissioners being informed, which a spokeswoman for the DSA said “could, for example, result in the suspension of the driver’s driving licence and/or their employer’s operators licence”.

Where the driver is from outside the UK, however, a Court Deposit equivalent to the £30 GFP will be taken at the roadside if drivers cannot produce the relevant DQC or driving licence, said the Vosa spokesman. In theory, foreign drivers would then face the same £1,000 maximum fine in court but the chances of them turning up are extremely slim. As the agency spokesman admitted: “If the offender does not turn up at court, then the court deposit is forfeited as the fine for the offence”.

Since neither foreign drivers nor foreign truck operators fall under the remit of the UK’s Traffic Commissioners, meanwhile, no action can be taken in the UK against their respective licences. There is, additionally, no scope for UK authorities to prevent such drivers or operators from returning to the UK or to bring any repeated non-compliance in the UK to the attention of regulatory bodies abroad, admits Vosa.

“The regulations do not contain any requirement for one member state to notify another member state of the offending of its members. It is incumbent upon individual member states to ensure that their drivers are fully compliant,” confirmed the spokesman.

Vosa does hope to develop some kind of system for reporting such drivers and operators to foreign licensing authorities but “there are no current plans to introduce such a system”, he admitted.

  • The graduated fixed penalty and court deposit have both been increased to £50 since this article was orginally published.

Over 4,700 restricted O-licences issued in Northern Ireland in the past year

More than 4,700 restricted operating licences were issued in Northern Ireland in the year to 31 March, after the introduction of new operator licensing rules there in July 2012.

New statistics just published by the Department for Regional Development show 4,724 restricted licences were issued during the year, alongside 394 national and 1,453 international O-licences.

A spokesman for the Transport Regulation Unit (TRU), the body within the Department of Environment tasked with handling operator licensing in Northern Ireland, stressed the new rules had only come into effect during the year, and described the number of restricted licence permits issued so far as “a very large proportion of the industry”.

Earlier this year, TRU head Donald Armstrong told CM there were 6,000-7,000 vehicle operators who should have applied for a restricted licence under the new rules.

During  May, June and July, letters were sent out to around 3,000 operators whose vehicles were tested in the last year but who were not listed on any operator’s licence, said the TRU spokesman.

Since March, a “few hundred” further licence applications had been received, he said.

The Driver and Vehicle Agency continues to ramp up its licensing enforcement activities, he added, with a number of prosecutions in progress and impounding of unlicensed vehicles set to begin this autumn.