Fleet vehicles & road haulage FAQs
Could you please advise me on the driving legislation regarding max driving hours and distances per day for company car drivers.
The EEC driver hour regulations apply to vehicles used for the carriage of goods in connection with a trade or business with a gross weight of over 3.5 tonnes. Cars below this weight, do not come within the scope of the driver hour regulations.
However, the Working Time Regulations impose working time limits on all workers. The main provisions can be summarised as follows:
- A limit of 48 hours per week on average that a worker can be required to work
- Workers can opt out and agree to work longer providing this agreement is in writing and signed.
- Working time includes time spent travelling where it is part of the job but does not include time spent travelling to and from home to work.
- Average weekly working time is normally calculated over 17 weeks but in some cases this can be extended to 26 weeks.
- Workers are entitled to a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours
- Uninterrupted weekly rest period of 24 hours (i.e. one day off a week)
- Rest breaks where the working day is more than 6 hours long.
- Four weeks paid annual leave
The situation with regard to "mobile workers" in the road transport sector involved in vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes and passenger vehicles carrying more than 9 people is somewhat more complicated.
I am a professional LGV driver, after being pulled over by VOSA my vehicle was found to be overweight on the drive axel and that a spring hanger had broken. I now face a £60 penalty and 3 points on my licence, can I contest this?
If the fixed penalty was issued for driving a vehicle in a ‘Dangerous Condition, you should be extra careful as an LGV driver because two offences of this nature within a 3 year period can carry a mandatory 6 month ban. It is also a notifiable conviction - in other words as anLGV driver you are required to inform the Traffic Commissioner about it as it could affect your suitability to hold an LGV licence. However, if you can convince the court on the balance of probabilities that you did not know, and had no way of knowing that the defect was present and constituted a danger then you will avoid points.
You do not have to accept the fixed penalty. There should be information on the ticket itself telling you what to do if you want to reject the fixed penalty and take your chances in court.
We have lots of experience in dealing with these sorts of cases, call on 0203 816 9274 for further information.
Is it illegal for a road haulage company to pay it's drivers a load bonus?
The position regarding whether an employer is breaking the law by paying a load bonus; depends entirely on the scope and terms which determine how that bonus is paid.
The company may be in breach of Article 10 of EU Regulation 561 of 2006 if they pay a bonus determined on the the amount of goods carried if that payment is of such a kind as to endanger road safety and/or encourages infringement of this Regulation.
It is because of this regulation that some operators within the industry who demonstrate best practise; will offer such a bonus which is counter-balanced by other bonuses which take the emphasis off encouraging drivers to speed or exceed their hours to get loads in. An example of this is where operators will pay drivers a fuel economy bonus in conjunction with a load bonus.
If you believe that your employer may be in breach of the regulation please feel free to contact us for further advice on our 24/7 helpline: 0203 816 9274.
One of our company vehicles was reported for not stopping at a minor accident. The incident was several months ago and we do not keep records of all our part time drivers. All have denied involvement. What liability do we have?
Whilst the accident may have been minor, the allegation that he has failed to stop, and presumably failed to report it, is not minor. The potential offences that arise for the driver are:
- Failing to Stop: 5 to 10 penalty points or unlimited discretionary ban and up to 6 months in prison
- Failing to Report: 5 to 10 penalty points or unlimited discretionary band and up to 6 months in prison
- Driving Without Due Care and Attention: 3 to 9 points and a fine of up to £5,000
There is a 6 month time limit for prosecuting these offences. The six months runs from the date of the offence until the date that the information is laid at the court.
For a body corporate (limited company) there is a statutory requirement to keep written records of the persons who drive vehicles registered in the company name. If no record has been made then it is for the company to prove that is was not reasonable or practical for such a record to be kept. If the company is found guilty then it faces a fine. Failing to respond to a request for information carries 6 penalty points and a fine but, unlike an individual, penalty points cannot be imposed against a company since it does not hold a driving licence. However, where a company is convicted and the offence is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or attributable to neglect on the part of, a director, manager or secretary or other similar officer of the company, that person can be convicted of the offence and have their licence endorsed with points.
Any civil liability arising from the accident would ordinarily be dealt with by your motor insurer and you should report the accident to them immediately.
I employ two plumbers and they both drive work vans. The insurance on one of the vans ran out recently and I didn't renew it. I was so busy I forgot. One of my employees has been stopped and now we are both in court. What's my best course of action?
S.143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence to drive or use a vehicle on a road without a policy of insurance covering third party liabilities. The prosecution need only prove use of the vehicle and it is then for the driver or user to prove that a valid insurance policy was in place covering that use. This is a strict liability offence, that is, you either have insurance or you do not.
If you have failed to arrange insurance for the use of your vehicles and you have permitted your employees to drive those vehicles without insurance then you have a problem. The prosecution will, however, need to prove that you have permitted the use of the vehicle and it may be worth taking advice regarding this point. Their ability to prove this may depend on whether you are a sole trader, partner or limited company and whether you gave permission for the vehicle to be used.
In the case of an employee driving in the course of his or her employment they are entitled to assume that the employer has arranged insurance and has a defence under S143(3) of the Act. Providing the employee did not know the vehicle was uninsured then he/she is not guilty of the offence.
The offence of Permitting no insurance carries the same penalties as Driving without Insurance, namely 6 to 8 points or disqualification and a fine.