Truck driver sentenced to prison for breaching drivers’ hours rules

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A lorry driver has been given a six-month prison sentence after the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) found he had not taken enough rest breaks.

Charles Dermott Byrne of Davis Street, Bristol was employed by FB Transport when his 32-tonne lorry was stopped by DVSA staff. After they downloaded Byrne’s drivers’ hours data, enforcement officers found he had been using his brother Liam Byrne’s driver card. 

By using his brother’s card, Byrne had been cheating drivers’ hours rules and carrying on driving without taking a break. This meant he could have been driving tired, putting other road users at risk. By law, lorry drivers must take a 45 minute break after four-and-a-half hours of driving.

Byrne admitted to having done this a couple of times, but closer analysis by DVSA showed that he’d used his brother’s card on 21 different occasions between July 2016 and February 2017.

Byrne then admitted to using his brother’s card to conceal repeated breaches of drivers hours rules. Not only had he deliberately broken drivers’ hours rules, he had also deliberately falsified his driving record in an effort to deceive DVSA staff.

He was convicted of 21 counts of knowingly making a false driver record (analogue or digital) and given an immediate 6-month custodial sentence.

In handing down the sentence, the Judge said that Mr Byrne had deliberately and consistently flouted drivers hours rules for his own financial gain.

DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “DVSA is committed to protecting you from dangerous drivers and vehicles. 

“Driver tiredness is one of the biggest killers on Britain’s roads and we take attempts to get around drivers’ hours regulations very seriously.

“We will pursue anyone who commits drivers hours offences to the fullest extent of the law. This sentence sends a clear message - it will not be tolerated.”   

Last year (2016/17) 6637 penalties totalling £1,487,750 in fines were issued to lorry drivers or operators who violated drivers hours or tachograph rules. Of these, 12 resulted in prison sentences and 30 resulted in suspended sentences. 

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