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. At the moment, many drivers will just pull over and sleep in their sleeping compartment in the cab of the HGV – after all, that’s what it’s for. But that is all about to change. Because 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. Which is why the DVSA have recently introduced a fine system for drivers who are cutting corners and sleeping in their cabs.
Why Drivers Need Rest
Let’s start with some slightly scary facts. Driver tiredness causes around 20% of all on road fatalities, 30% of all severe vehicle crashes and around 60% of all minor incidents. In a car, that is scary enough, but when you’re driving a vehicle that weighs several tonnes, it’s positively alarming. So, it goes without saying that driver tiredness is a serious risk, and something that needs to be handled and prevented where possible. That’s why there have been so many rules created around how long drivers can be on the road, when breaks need to be taken, and now, where they can be taken too. It might sound a tough controlling, but in truth these regulations need to be in place to ensure the safety of all drivers on the road.
The DVSA’s Plan
As it turns out, the problem of HGV driver tiredness hadn’t gone unnoticed by the DVSA. In fact, it had become so much of a problem that they started issuing fines to drivers who were using laybys and roadside parking as ‘rest stop’ locations. . 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, who they would apply to and where exactly drivers could rest, 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.”
The clarification then went on to say that drivers would be permitted to rest in their cabs only if they were parked in a suitable location – meaning somewhere with facilities such as toilets, showers and food outlets. In other words, the DVSA wants drivers to be having meaningful rest and recharging time during their breaks, not just more time scrunched up in their cabs. The DVSA states that rest stops can be used in the cab of the vehicle, provided that the vehicle is parked in a suitable location. While this might seem like a trivial distinction, it’s not, and the DVSA are taking it very seriously. So much so that road traffic patrols will be regularly checking common offence spots, and tachographs will now be monitored closely by employers to ensure that rest stops are being taken in approved places.
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.