Tougher sanctions for drivers' hours falsification needed, says RHA
The RHA has called for sanctions for drivers’ hours falsification to be increased, particularly for non-GB drivers, as drivers’ hours breaches continue to top the DVSA’s list of most commonly-committed offences.
Vehicle enforcement data published by the DVSA this week showed that some 46% of the 3,271 offences detected during checks of both GB- and non-GB registered trucks in the year to March 2016 fell into the drivers’ hours category, and such offences represented 49% of all convictions achieved.
Tachograph and records shortcomings were the second most common offence, but the number discovered fell 16.2% in 2015/16 compared to the year before.
The RHA’s director of policy, Jack Semple, said the association was pushing for more effective sanctions to be put in place to reduce the likelihood of tachograph falsifications being committed.
He said: “Lets have a much heavier fine, like £2,500, and confiscate the lorry.
“It’s just not acceptable and we need to stamp it out. We need to send a very clear message that falsification is not acceptable in the UK.”
However, Chris Powell, a solicitor at Smith Bowyer Clarke Road Transport Lawyers, urged caution.
“When it comes to GB drivers, there has to be a distinction between those who knowingly commit drivers’ hours offences, and those who do so out of ignorance.
"Whilst there are undoubtedly “crooked” drivers out there, in our experience a lot of the drivers we represent simply had no idea that what they were doing was illegal. In those cases, far more could be achieved through better driver CPC training, rather than harsher punishments," he said.
There was a 6.3% increase in the total number of prohibitions issued to non-GB registered trucks, for mechanical, drivers’ hours and weight offences, to 21,223 in 2015/16 (2014/15: 19,956).
This was achieved as a result of a 6.4% increase in the number of checks carried out on overseas-registered HGVs to 89,956.
However, the prohibition rate for non-GB trucks remained marginally the same at 23.5% (2014/15: 23.6%).
The total number of prohibitions given for offences committed by GB-registered trucks fell 20.5% to 13,730 in 2015/16, compared with 17,274, although the number of checks performed such vehicles fell 16.1% to 64,506.
This represented a prohibition rate of 21.2%.
Despite a similar prohibition rate amongst GB and non-GB hauliers, Semple called for more enforcement of overseas operators, including making sure that non-UK drivers are paid the minimum wage.
“All we are seeking is a level playing field,” he said. “We will be calling for beefing up enforcement of cabotage [post-Brexit], although these are the things we should be doing anyway.”
“The absence of regulatory control of foreign operators is very significant. We can’t suspend or revoke O-licences like the traffic commissioners can do with UK operators," he added.
Come on and join our Convoy in the Park open day
Come on and join our convoy
Truck show Convoy in the Park is holding an open day for potential exhibitors on 9 February at Donington Park.
Companies interested in learning more about the event, which takes place on 22-23 July, are offered the choice of attending one of two sessions on the day (10.45am or 1.15pm).
Andy Salter, MD of Road Transport Media, which is running the show alongside Truck Sport UK, said: “Convoy in the Park is an exciting new event for 2017, combining all the elements of a European truck show with a weekend of truck racing.
"Visitors will be treated to an action packed weekend, with truck pulls, caravan demolition, live music, an open air cinema, eating competitions, and much more. We are expecting well in excess of 20,000 visitors throughout the weekend, the bulk of which will be HGV drivers, haulage operators and race enthusiasts.”
To register your interest in exhibiting at Convoy in the Park, and attending one of the open day sessions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 07771 812990.