The DVSA will start issuing on-the-spot penalties to lorry, bus and coach drivers who repeatedly break drivers’ hours rules from next month (Monday, March 5).
The new regulations, first announced in 2017, will allow DVSA examiners to issue on-the-spot fines for any drivers’ hours offences committed in the last 28 days.
At the moment, DVSA can only fine drivers for offences committed that day, or ongoing offences, like manipulating tachograph records.
Under the current rules, DVSA has to take offenders to court for earlier offences. It says the process is costly and time-consuming, and drivers without a UK address do not always respond to a summons.
“DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles,” said DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn. “There’s no excuse for driving while tired.
“The results of falling asleep at the wheel of can be devastating. Any driver or operator breaking these rules is putting other road users at risk.
“These tougher penalties will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break the law, helping keep the public safe on Britain’s roads.”
Drivers who do not live in the UK will have to pay any penalties before continuing on their journey. If necessary, their vehicle will be immobilised until they have done so.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) says that driving while tired may be responsible for one in five of all accidents and up to a quarter of serious and fatal crashes.
About 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles, according to Think!
Crashes involving tired lorry drivers can be particularly devastating. Almost a quarter of injuries caused by accidents involving lorries are fatal or serious, compared to one in eight crashes as a whole.
In addition to the devastation caused to families and communities, collisions also cost the economy an estimated £16.3 billion a year, and add pressure on the NHS and emergency services.