Maybe you've heard the big news.
But if you haven't, here it is:
The DVSA's given itself powers to dish out on-the-spot fines for historic drivers' hours offences.
How historic? you ask. Well..
If an agent pulls you over, they're allowed to fine you for any drivers' hours infringement committed up to 28 days previously.
What's more, the agent will be able to issue as many as 5 fines in a single check. And with each fine capped at £300, that means a driver could potentially generate a £1500 penalty within a few minutes.
Don't risk it, get the rules in plain English by downloading our Free Drivers' Hours Handbook
And they can do this now?
They can, but they won't. In a staggering display of mercy, the agency's giving drivers and operators more time to adjust to the new measures. As things stand, they can legally issue the fines described. They won't begin doing so, however, until 5th March.
The fines will be equally applicable to overseas- and UK-based wagoners. The former, however, will have to pay their fines there and then, or have their lorry immobilised until they do.
As you'll already know, the DVSA was only able to issue on-the-spot fines for offences committed that day. And if they wished to take action for historic offences, they had to go through the courts.
The new process is more efficient, more streamlined and, overall, better for everyone. Except drivers.
We know where Gov stands, you're saying, but what do the trade bodies say about this new historic drivers hours offences rule?
Surprisingly, many have come out in favour of the new system. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, the FTA believes it will be an effective tool to combat foreign offenders, who up until now have had some success in flying under the State's radar.
James Firth, the man in charge of licencing policy and compliance information for the FTA, said:
"For some years, DVSA officers have been virtually powerless to take effective action against non-UK HGV drivers who may have committed a string of offences in the days and weeks before the vehicle is stopped."
The RHA also backed the move. Richard Burnett, the Chief Executive, said:
“Whilst we support action against firms who deliberately flout drivers’ hours rules, we also call on the Government to address the urgent need for more lorry parking areas so that drivers have somewhere secure to rest.”
Do you reckon it's a coincidence that the new fining structure will be put in place only a month before the onset of Earned Recognition? 2018 is shaping up to be a brutal year for drivers. A career change is sounding better and better. Ever thought of taking the step toward becoming a TM? It's always a good idea to keep your options open. If you're wondering whether making this change is right for you, you can get the full picture by clicking the big button below. Or don't, it's up to you.