Drivers' hours regulations
Under regulations large goods vehicles/heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) with a gross vehicle weight of more than 3.5 tonnes or passenger carrying vehicles/public service vehicles (PSVs) able to carry over eight people legally must have a tachograph fitted. European regulations mean that, drivers of HGVs and PSVs must abide by rules covering driving time, breaks and rest periods. Vehicles registered on or after 1st May 2006 must be fitted with a digital tachograph. Vehicles registered before can be fitted with digital or analogue equipment.
Penalties for tachograph offences
The consequences of tachograph offences can be severe and the penalties will depend on the circumstances of the offence and the seriousness of the action. They have implications for the driver and the operator and they can include: verbal warnings, rectification notices, prohibition to drive until certain conditions are met, prosecution and referrals to the Traffic Commissioner.
Many offences are tried in the Magistrates’ Court and can lead to financial penalties being imposed alongside a criminal conviction. Examples include:
- For breaching the EU Regulations on driving times, breaks and rest periods a fine of up to £2,500 may be applied
- Failure to keep proper records carries a fine of £2,500
- For tachograph offences (including failure to use or install) an unlimited fine can be imposed
- Failure to supply records to an enforcement officer can also lead to an unlimited fine being imposed
The sanctions for falsifying records are generally more severe and can be heard in either the Magistrates’ Court as a ‘summary only offence’ or, if considered more serious then they will be tried in the Crown Court where tougher sentencing powers are available:
- False entry or alteration of a record with the intent to deceive - on summary conviction this carries an unlimited fine, on indictment it carries up to two years’ imprisonment
- Altering or forging the seal on a tachograph with the intent to deceive - on summary conviction this carries an unlimited fine, on indictment it carries up to two years’ imprisonment
Our drivers' hours offence solicitors can assist you with any of the following:
- If you have been accused of using another drivers card to create a false record - this is sometimes done to infringe drivers hours regulations, if this was knowingly done drivers and those supplying their card may be prosecuted as well as called to Public Inquiry before the Traffic Commissioner
- If a device is used to interfere with a tachograph, this may be seen as a deliberate attempt to falsify and distort records and this type of offence is more likely to lead to prosecution and potentially imprisonment
- If records are suspected of being deliberately falsified this may also lead to criminal prosecution and a Public Inquiry
- If records have not been kept the Traffic Commissioner will want to know why at a Public Inquiry as it is an offence not to keep correct records
Our specialist solicitors can advise on whether offences maybe challenged, have open dialogue with the prosecutors to see if offences can be withdrawn, through to defending you at trial. We understand the stress that you will be under and we will aim to give you guidance on realistic outcomes and provide technical outcomes to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Call our road transport team today on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.