Lorry drivers who spend too long behind the wheel will face tougher penalties in a bid to improve road safety.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said that new regulations going before parliament today will give its examiners the ability to issue on-the-spot fines to those found to have broken driving hours rules in the past 28 days.
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.
“These tougher penalties will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break drivers hours rules and will help make our roads safer.
“There’s no excuse for driving whilst tired. The results of falling asleep at the wheel of a 44-tonne lorry can be devastating to families and communities.”
The DVSA also announced it would target lorry drivers taking their full, weekly 45-hour rest breaks in their vehicles to combat illegal parking and disruption for locals. It says that last year, authorities in Kent took action against 3,700 lorry drivers for parking “illegally or inappropriately”.
Chris Yarsley, policy manager at the Freight Transport Association, “welcomed” the efforts to ensure driving hours rules are being adhered to, but issued a warning about fining drivers for sleeping in their vehicles.
He said: “Before fines are issued for drivers taking their regular weekly rest break in the vehicle cabin, the Department for Transport must fulfil its promise to ensure adequate safe and secure parking areas are available for drivers to use across the road network.”