We are pleased to send you the second issue of our Compliance Update, looking to keep you informed of current practices and expectations of professional Operators within the United Kingdom.
In the latest edition, we provide the latest views of two of the Traffic Commissioners, an update on the enforcement of regular weekly rests being taken in vehicles, the implementation of average speed cameras in Scotland and the latest information on sleep apnoea.
Proactive, not Reactive
rs Joan Aitken, the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland has in her ruling, recently made it clear to Operators that compliance is not a matter for an as and when but must be achieved on a day in day out basis.
She has also indicated, quite clearly and reinforcing the view of the Regulators that your obligation as an Operator to be compliant is ‘non-negotiable’ and to that end, the undertakings that the Operator gives to obtain a licence must be met on a day to day basis.
To do that, it is important that all Operators’ systems are constantly looking for issues and will identify problems should they arise, rather than waiting for audits or, ultimately, the visit of a Traffic Examiner or an incident, to highlight the issue to you.
Therefore, regular audits to identify these matters can only be a good thing, but as indicated previously, you need to listen to the auditors and act upon their conclusions.
Are you downloading your digital data?
r Nick Jones, Traffic Commissioner for Wales has recently published information relating to Operators who are failing to download on a regular basis.
Just to remind those who are unaware, the current downloading intervals as a maximum, is to download the digital data from the Driver’s Digital Card at a maximum of every 28 days and for Vehicle Units, it is a maximum of every 90 days.
Mr Jones highlighted an instance where the legal requirement to download a Vehicle Unit had been exceeding by 548 days. The obligation is to download the data and therefore, robust systems to identify which drivers have not downloaded or which Vehicle Units have not been downloaded, need to be in place. These should apply not only to your regular full-time drivers but also to your casual drivers and if you use them, your agency drivers.
If the driver is under your instruction then it is your legal obligation to have that information downloaded and please remember that if the driver does not download and keeps on committing offences of which you are unaware due to the failure to download, then the liability upon you as the Operator will be considered even more severely.
If you want to talk to us about the various solutions and record keeping, then please give us a call or contact us by email.
Weekly Rest Fines
From 1st November 2017 – Drivers taking 45 hours rest in vehicles may be fined in the UK
Under the EU Drivers’ Hours’ Regulations, we have, for a long time advised, that with the way the Regulations are written, it is potentially illegal for a driver to take a regular weekly rest, i.e. of 45 hours or more in their vehicle. This is due to the fact that, under EU Regulation 561/2006 Article 8(8), it states that ‘where a driver chooses to do this, Daily Rest periods and reduced Weekly Rest Periods away from base may be taken in a vehicle, as long as it has suitable sleeping facilities for each driver and the vehicle is stationary.’
We are advised that from 1st November 2017, the DVSA are going to begin to fine drivers up to a maximum of £300 if it is found that they spend their full Weekly Rest break i.e. a regular Weekly Rest in their vehicle, but this may not apply to all drivers. The DVSA, have advised in their Press Release they will base this fine upon whether it causes a problem. It is our understanding that this will be based upon whether the facilities around the driver prevent the driver from being able to take a proper rest, i.e. the driver is parked in a layby with no facilities for cleaning, washing, toilets etc. or, that the driver is taking the regular Weekly Rest in an area where it may cause antisocial problems.
Therefore, they are viewing this in respect of drivers taking a regular Weekly Rest Break in the cab where it could contribute to them not taking a proper rest and exposing the same drivers to poor living conditions and/or is where the drivers have parked illegally or inappropriately and as a consequence, residents or others complain about noise, litter or antisocial behaviour.
As for advice, therefore, it is essential that when planning your drivers, if they are to take a regular weekly rest in a vehicle, that you ensure that they are parked where they have suitable facilities. Please remember that this applies to the UK Enforcement ONLY and in mainland Europe, taking a Regular Weekly Rest in a vehicle has, for some time, been deemed illegal and regardless of where this is taken, may still be enforced.
Increase in Fines
DVSA say enforcement rules will be changed so lorry, bus and coach driver can be fined more at the roadside
There are many rumours flying around that there will be an increase in fines payable by drivers as of the 1st November 2017. We believe that this confusion has occurred, due to it being within the same Press Publication as the Weekly Rest information above.
It is correct, that in the future, drivers may be fined for up to five Driver’s Hours’ offences at the roadside, but for the time being, this remains at three.
Furthermore, at this time, drivers can be fined by the DVSA at a roadside under Fixed Penalty Notices for offences committed that day or, ongoing offences, i.e., manipulating tachograph records. The proposal is that instead of only being able to fine drivers for up to three offences at the roadside and for current and ongoing offences, that the DVSA Traffic Examiners will have new powers to fine drivers for offences committed in the last 28 days in one single road check and that they will be able to fine drivers for up to five Drivers’ Hours’ offences, thereby resulting in a maximum fine of up to £1,500 in a single check.
This will happen in the future, and we will keep you up to date when we hear any more. However, as an important point, regular offending by drivers should not be tolerated and it should also be noted that if a driver is a regular offender and identified at the roadside, there is nothing to stop the DVSA Officer seizing records and subsequently summonses being issued to the driver and/or company, following the appropriate legal processes, and therefore, it does not mean that just because they cannot be fined at the roadside, that they cannot be fined, and you cannot be fined.
Average Speed Cameras in Scotland
Controversial average speed cameras on A90 will go live THIS month
For most Operators operating in Scotland, whether based there or, having business there, please note that from October 31st, 2017, a system of average speed cameras has been placed on the A90 along the 50 miles stretch between Stonehaven to Dundee. This is based upon the timetables provided by Transport Scotland and although, it is alleged by some who are critical of this process, they are to raise money, it is written within the article that, based upon the data from the A9 that fatal and serious injuries have been reduced by 40% since 2014. Therefore, we hope you will pass to your drivers this information in order that they can ensure that they do not get caught out and respond positively to the implementation of these cameras.
Source URL: https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/controversial-speed-cameras-on-busy-road-to-go-live-this month/?utm_content=bufferb78ae&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
The DVLA have recently updated their information relating to assessing the fitness to drive and in particular, with respect to excessive sleepiness, often called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome. We have provided the link below for the campaign relating to ‘Tiredness can Kill’ which was tested and proven in the Selby Train Crash with the driver, Gary Hart.
If a driver has a condition causing sleepiness or tiredness during the day, then they are legally obliged to tell the DVLA if they hold a current driving licence of any type. It is believed that approximately one fifth of accidents on motorways and other monotonous types of roads may be caused by drivers failing asleep at the wheel.
Information is also provided as to which drivers, the lifestyles and the times of day, that may result in a driver or accentuating the causes of a driver becoming tired. Although the driver may be ultimately responsible, as a professional and a responsible Operator, you should be ensuring that your systems and procedures properly check and question drivers and advise them in order that, should they have a condition such as sleep apnoea, they take the proper procedures and you do not allow them to drive in vehicles within your fleet, or possible even to drive at all.
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