Many operators are still falling foul of the requirement to download from the vehicle units, thinking that it is only a download from the driver’s card which is important. If DVSA are doing an investigation they will ask for your vehicle download records. Failing to undertake downloads and keep records is an offence and could not only result in a prosecution but also a referral to the Traffic Commissioner and a public inquiry.
An amendment has recently been introduced which now allows operators to increase the maximum amount of time between digital downloads from the vehicle unit from every 56 days to every 90 days. This amendment to the Transport Act 1968 came into effect on 6 April 2015.
The amendment has taken place to bring the domestic rules into line with those specified in an EU Regulation. The UK introduced the 56 day limit following the changes made to the drivers’ hours rules in 2006, which gave each individual member state discretion to stipulate the frequency at which data should be downloaded from the vehicle tachograph. However, a few years later, the EU Commission specified that the maximum periods for downloading data should not exceed 90 days from the vehicle unit and 28 days from the driver card.
The extension of the maximum amount of time has been introduced by the Government in order to ease the burden of excessive regulation upon the industry, resulting form what the Government referred to as the “Red Tape Challenge”. It also mirrors the maximum period allowed for inspection intervals for vehicles under 12 years old.
90 days is the maximum period; operators can chose any period up to 90 days which suits their own circumstances. However, as one of the purposes of doing the download from the vehicle unit is to identify instances of missing mileage and excessive speeding, you may wish to continue to do downloads at more regular intervals, as it will be easier to identify and investigate any gaps in records and if necessary take disciplinary action. Make sure that tachograph downloads are diarised and that you adhere to the schedule.
The latest amendment only affects downloads from the vehicle unit; the time scale for downloading for downloading from the driver card remains the same.
If you would like any further information on compliance with your drivers’ hours obligation, please contact me on 01756 790631.