Are you an HGV driver who takes their rest stops in their cab? Do you regularly just pull up at the side of the road, roll back into your sleeper compartment and take a nap when it’s time to stop driving? Well, you could be in trouble.
In their latest attempt to crack down on driver tiredness, the DVSA has been forced to issue new rules about where drivers are allowed to take their rest stops, and created fines to enforce these rules.
The Importance Of Good Quality Rest
While most of us are happy to jump in the car and drive when we’re feeling a bit groggy, the situation is entirely different for professional drivers. Good quality rest is crucial, which is why there are so many rules around resting times, duration of driving and now rest locations in the HGV industry. In fact, 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. And when an HGV driver is on the road all day, they need to be able to take regular breaks from the wheel in order to stay focussed. The DVSA now believes that this means actually being physically away from the vehicle and in a clear space for quality rest, which is why this ban 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.
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 rules came into effect in November this year, but they caused so much confusion among the HGV community that the DVSA had to issue a clarification, reiterating that it is very much certain locations that should not be used as rest stops, and why. The official statement from 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, 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. For a suitable location – read somewhere with adequate toilet, showering and food facilities. So an actual service station as opposed to the side of the road. 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 need to be monitored 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.
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