With effect from 1 November 17, DVSA will start to fine drivers up to £300 if they spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle, if their vehicle is in a place where it causes a problem. This may lead to drivers being fined if they take their weekly rest away from home and in an area such as a lay by.
The new power to issue fines is in response to lorries being parked illegally or in inappropriate places which have caused a nuisance to local residents. Often this involves parking in residential areas or in lay-bys, taking up space in the lay-by for a long period of time.
The announcement from DVSA follows on from a decision earlier in the year regarding interpretation of where a driver should take his weekly rest. The European Advocate General gave an indication that a weekly rest period may not be taken within a vehicle. The European Court of Justice has yet to make a final ruling on the issue. The rationale behind the new fine is that spending a weekly rest break in a cab can contribute to drivers not being properly rested and expose drivers to poor living conditions. Similar arguments were advanced in the recent case before the Advocate General.
Drivers and operators are going to have to review their working schedules to ensure that any driver who is unable to take a weekly rest at base, will be able to either park in a designated LGV parking place, such as a lorry or park or be able to access other accommodation. However, what constitutes a parking problem, will no doubt be open to interpretation and legal argument.