Costly VOSA investigation

The courts have recently ruled that, when deciding the level of VOSA’s costs, there is no need to carry out an investigation as to how much of VOSA’s investigation had been successful.

The case involved an investigation into drivers’ hours offences. Prosecutions were brought against 20 drivers, the employing company and the director of the company, who was also the transport manager. Each driver was ordered to pay £1050 towards costs, the director was ordered to pay £15,000 towards costs and the company £50,000 towards costs. The company and the director argued that the costs were disproportionate to the fines, out of proportion to their means and related to parts of the investigation which did not result in convictions.

The court held that if an investigation is wholly disproportionate to the outcome, then the costs should not be paid by the defendants. However, that was not so in this particular case. A third of the workforce had been convicted and there was a serious compliance problem. Furthermore, it could not be said that many of the costs would have been saved if VOSA had only proceeded on the offence for which it ultimately secured convictions.

The case underlines the importance of taking seriously compliance with the drivers’ hours and tachograph legislation. It is sensible to have in place robust compliance systems, as the case shows that a VOSA investigation can be very costly. If you have any doubts and would like some advice, please contact me on 01756 790 631.

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