These differed from the Fixed Penalty tickets that the Police had been issuing since the early 1980’s in four key areas.

1.       Commercial Vehicle Offences came into the equation in relation to Drivers’ Hours’ breaches, primarily under EEC 3821/85 and EC 561/2006.

2.       Breaches of overweight regulations, which had been available previously as a £30 “non- specific Fixed penalty”, were brought into the net.

3.       and perhaps most revolutionary, Drivers who did not have or were unable to prove that they had a “satisfactory UK address” would be required to pay, “ON THE SPOT”, the financial element of the Notice before being allowed to leave.

4.       Offending Drivers from outside the UK, who did not hold a UK Licence, could be allocated Penalty Points in relation to endorsable offences on, in effect, “a ghost licence” created at DVLA.

A whole new sliding scale of penalties was also introduced in relation to offences that had a “numeric” attribute to them. For example, Exceeding Daily Driving Time or taking Insufficient Daily Rest could, in effect, be measured as to the degree of the seriousness of the breach in terms of a temporal value – hence “graduated”.

In other words, the worse the level of breach, the higher the level of fine to the point where it was determined that the breach was so serious that a Court appearance was warranted.

This was exactly the same for “overweight” vehicles where the greater the “overweight”, the higher the fine.

Foster Tachographs and Transport Compliance present the Section 90 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 and the Road Safety Act 2006 allowed both VOSA and the Police to issue a variety of Fixed penalty notices at the roadside.

Speeding would also appear to be an ideal type of offence for this “sliding scale” or “graduated system” as it can be measured as to the level of the breach. However, the Government decided that this was not the time to be that “revolutionary”.

A large number of other “Drivers Hours” related offences also had a Penalty attached to them, but this penalty was “Fixed”. This was because the extent of the breach could not be measured by a value. For example, Failing to Keep a Record and Failing to Produce records at the roadside were “de facto” breaches without being able to be measured – hence the Penalty being Fixed – at £200 the current maximum.

A whole host of other breaches of EEC 3821/85 Articles 13-15, were allocated a Fine Level of £120 and bracketed under the amorphous heading of “incorrect use of equipment”. This included things such as centerfield entries, Mode Switching and the like.

It is generally believed that the creation of False records could not be dealt with by the Fixed Penalty system, but the system seems to be in place to do so – but is it by accident or design? The fine levy of £120 for the incorrect use of equipment includes breaches of article 15 of EEC 3821/85. In the initial draft of EEC 3821/85, Article 15 only went up to Subsection 7. When EEC 3821/85 was revised in 2006 (ostensibly to take into account the introduction of Digital Tachographs) it suddenly had an Article 15 Subsection 8 – creating the offence of False records under Article 15 –” incorrect use of equipment” and thus being liable to a £120 fine.

But don’t tell VOSA……………….

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