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New rules for ‘in cab’ weekly breaks

By: Dave Robbins
13 November 2017

The shortage of safe, secure and well maintained truckstops is an increasingly high-profile problem for the UK logistics industry.
The issue has been brought into even sharper focus by the introduction of new rules (effective from November 1st) that more tightly control how and where drivers take their weekly breaks.
The new rules mean that drivers can no longer take their mandatory 45-hour weekly rest in the vehicle cab, unless the vehicle is parked up in a formal rest area and has appropriate facilities with full access to food, toilets and showers. Whilst this may mean a change of habits for some, it’s clearly right and proper that drivers take their breaks in an environment where they can properly rest.
The DVSA is taking the changes very seriously and drivers found to be in contravention of them will face a £300 fixed penalty notice or deposit. In addition, they may be required to start their weekly rest period again. Their employers will be reported to their local licensing authorities.
Commenting on the changes, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “We are worried that many operators won’t know of the change in the law and could be fined if their drivers park inappropriately. Rest facilities for HGV drivers are scarce and in order to comply with their working hours they need somewhere safe and secure to rest. The authorities are duty-bound to tackle this urgent problem. Punishing drivers for illegal parking is one thing, but changes to the current, poorly equipped infrastructure must be made in order to keep Britain’s economy moving.”
The RHA is recommending that where drivers have taken their weekend break in paid for lorry parking facilities they keep their receipt in case they have to prove that they have parked appropriately.
The changes also apply on mainland Europe. So, beware if your work causes you to venture into France; fines for breaking the new rules on weekly rest can stack up to an eye-watering € 30,000 or a year’s imprisonment.
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