HGV driving is an incredibly rewarding career path. But it can also come with its own set of challenges, the biggest of which is combatting tired and exhausted drivers who have been on the road for hours. But the thing is, sometimes isn’t about just adding in more breaks – it’s about ensuring that the time a driver spends away from the wheel is actually restful, rather than just dead time between driving. At least, that’s what the DVSA think, which is why they created new rules around drivers who sleep in their cabs – and the fines they would get.
It turns out, drivers sleeping in their cabs had become quite a problem in the UK. So much so, that the DVSA have been forced to clarify their position on the fines for drivers who take their full rest periods in their cabs, rather than elsewhere. The fines were initially announced some time ago, and came into force in November this year, but due to confusion about how they would work, a clarifying statement has been made. The statement by the DVSA reads:
“From 1 November 2017, DVSA will start to fine drivers up to £300 if they spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle in places where it causes a problem. For example, if a lorry driver spends their full break in the cab of their lorry in a layby.”
In other words, rest stops need to be taken in official designated rest areas, such as service stations, where drivers have access to toilets, showers and food outlets. If a driver chooses to sleep in their cab at one of these locations, they will not be fined, because they have access to the facilities that help promote good quality rest and breaks. But if they were to just pull up at the side of the road and roll into their sleeping compartment, they would be fined £300 for each time they did it. This will be enforced by road traffic patrols, who will be spot checking problem areas, and by tachograph checking, which will ensure rest stops are taken in the right places.
For HGV drivers, good quality rest is absolutely crucial. That’s why there are so many rules and regulations over when they take breaks, how long they are allowed to drive and now, where those breaks can be. When a driver is on the road all day, they need to be able to take regular breaks from the wheel so that they can stay focussed, alert and safe. The DVSA has now included in their rules that this means actually being physically away from the vehicle and in a conducive space for quality rest, which is why this new rule has been put in place. It’s hoped that the new measures will put a stop to the issue of drivers spending long hours outside of official rest stops, which can impact on both their physical and mental health, as well as the appearance of safety on public roads. And when driver fatigue causes 60% of minor road incidents, 30% of major ones and 20% of all fatalities on the road, it’s important to take it seriously.
And this isn’t the only shake-up in the HGV industry recently. The new viewing rating for London HGV’s, the announcement of the electric HGV ranges and even more driver regulations mean that 2018 will be an exciting and challenging year for the haulage industry. To keep up to date with the latest news, or to find out how you could become part of this thriving industry, just get in touch with one of our team today.