How Have Drivers’ Hours Regulations Changed?

In recent months, a logistics company in the West Midlands has made the headlines, after their haulage director was disqualified for seven years. This is as a result of issues regarding prohibition rates and inadequate driver defect reporting systems, in addition to a shocking number of drivers’ hours offences committed.

Drivers’ hours infringements are not unusual in the haulage sector. We’ve taken a look at the changes made to the law to crack down on this illegal behaviour, and the impact this has had on the public and logistics businesses.

Why Are These Regulations So Important?

There are clear statistics that illustrate the risks associated with driving whilst tired. The danger increases dramatically when it involves lorries and commercial vehicles. Almost a quarter of injuries caused by accidents involving heavy goods vehicles are categorised as fatal or serious.

Additionally, it has been proven that tiredness dulls reaction times, impairs judgement and reduces coordination. It should therefore be of no surprise that around 40% of accidents that are linked to tiredness include commercial vehicles. These findings are further supported by the Royal Society For The Prevention Of Accidents (RoSPA). They suggest that driving whilst tired is responsible for a fifth of all accidents and up to a quarter of serious and fatal crashes.

These incidents cause considerable devastation to the families and communities of the victims, as well as the economy and emergency services. Road collisions are responsible for £16.3 million of additional costs per year to the economy and place undue pressure on the NHS.

What Effect Has The 2018 Law Change Had?

Before 2018, it was only possible for drivers to be issued fines for infringements committed in the last 24 hours. In order to prosecute prior infractions, it was necessary to take a driver to court to fine drivers. Additionally, fines could be issued for ongoing offences such as manipulating tachograph records.

Now, drivers exceeding the amount of driving hours permitted by law can be given spot fines of up to £300 during a roadside check for up to 5 incidents. This means that, in one occurrence, a driver could receive fines of £1,500 if they are a repeat offender. The changes to the law resulted in the number of fixed penalties increasing by 465% in the last year compared to the previous period. In addition, the value of fines increased by 763%.

However, this is not necessarily confirmation that the quantity of infringements has increased. Instead it demonstrates the number of offences that had previously gone under the radar. Unlike the previous regulations, the new law also applies to drivers that work here but are not residents of Great Britain. Not only are they required to pay the fine immediately, but their vehicle is impounded until the payment is made.

How Does The 2018 Law Change Help Your Business?

The enforcement of the laws around breaks and hours of driving for HGV drivers has become significantly easier since the change in regulations. It helps to ensure that drivers take their 30 minute or 45 minute break during each period of driving, as well as enforcing the 45 hour rest period every fortnight.

This not only improves safety on the roads and limits disruption to communities, but also supports honest operators. Businesses that comply with the drivers’ hours regulations may previously have missed out on contracts as dishonest businesses had the advantage with reduced costs. Removing this illegal advantage gives honest hauliers the upper hand.

If you have any questions regarding the drivers’ hours regulations, speak to our team today. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss the options for sourcing drivers or careers in the transport and logistics industry, the Savanna team are here to help. Savanna are a highly experienced driver recruitment specialist for London and the surrounding areas, specialising in Class 1 and 2 driver jobs. To begin the search for your next driving job this summer, contact us on: 0330 335 8367 or email

Our office is open between 6am and 6pm, from Monday to Friday.

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