RETENTION OF TACHOS BY DRIVERS

Driver Hours Tacho Rules . Can you account for your 21 day history?

It is a drivers’ personal responsibility to hold tachos in the cab for the last 15 days and the current week hence up to 21 days. VOSA show very little patience for failure to produce and will issue a prohibition which could lead to criminal prosecution.

One client of mine had been working in another job outside the transport industry for 14 out of the 21 day period and when stopped was quite rightly only able to produce the last 7 days tachos during which time he had been driving. He was given a prohibition for failing to produce evidence of his activities during his alleged time away from driving. This is a little harsh but shows you how you are wise to be able to account for activities. If you or your drivers have been for example on leave, a simple letter from the employer or travel documents can confirm this. VOSA call it “a letter of accreditation”. Make sure you or your drivers can account for their time.

Practical advice on managing your Operator Licence is provided by Elizabeth Caple, Transport Law Solicitor. elizabeth.caple@blueyonder.co.uk
0117 9075699 0781 441 4374

Roadside Graduated Fixed Penalties and Deposits

ROADSIDE GRADUATED FIXED PENALTIES AND DEPOSITS

by Tim Ridyard, partner and road transport solicitor at Ipswich-based Barker Gotelee Solicitors.

The Department for Transport is consulting on implementation of roadside deposits and fixed penalties. The consultation started on 7 June and closes on 30 August 2007. There is a clear intent in the consultation documentation that these proposals should be implemented soon and if implemented would lead to:

- VOSA issuing fixed penalties (currently only the police can do this)

- VOSA being given the power to endorse driving licences

- Fixed penalties being graduated or banded as to seriousness of offence.

- Drivers without satisfactory UK addresses being made to pay roadside deposits greater set a level higher than the highest fixed penalty.

Drivers, and indeed operators would still face court proceedings according to the discretion of the police and VOSA. VOSA would not be able to endorse licences or impose penalties for certain offences e.g. speeding - their remit would be confined to overloading, drivers hours/tachograph records, roadworthiness, driver licensing, community authorisations and vehicle excise duty.

Importantly, fixed penalties are not criminal offences even though the offences they cover could be regarded as criminal offences if prosecuted in the Magistrates/Crown Court. This may seem attractive to would-be offenders but although they do not constitute criminal convictions they will be disclosable to the Traffic Commissioner for notifiable offences under new provisions enacted in December 2006 in the Road Safety Act 2006.

Fixed penalties would be banded:

0 - a warning,
Band 1 - £30 fixed penalty
Band 2 - £60 fixed penalty
Band 3 - £120 fixed penalty
Band 4 - £200 fixed penalty.

The suggested minimum roadside deposit is £300 with a maximum £900 for three or more offences.

It is proposed that vehicles be prohibited from moving if no deposit can be paid for those drivers without a satisfactory UK address. Drivers being issued with fixed penalties i.e. UK based drivers, would normally have been able to prove their identity e.g. through their driver's licence etc.

It is also intended that certain offences e.g. drivers hours offences will be banded as to the appropriate fixed penalty with reference to the amount by which the law is contravened e.g. 4 ½ hour rule (45 minutes break) - the greater the lack of proper break, the higher the fixed penalty band.

There are some clear issues which arise out of this although one positive for drivers who have clearly committed an offence is that they may well receive a penalty less than any fine imposed in the court and not have to pay court costs either - penalties on the Magistrates Court for road transport offences are inconsistent and erratic and these proposals might be helpful in that regard.

Further guidance notes will be posted in due course.

by Tim Ridyard of Barker Gotelee Solicitors