Family hobbies – could they end up costing you more than money?

Many parents are keen to help their children make the most of their spare time.  For a lot of parents this involves driving.  However for some the implications could be more than just spending the weekend taxiing the children from one location to another.

Children and teenagers who own horses are often keen to compete at equestrian events.  For some families this involves purchasing a horse box with a gross vehicle weight exceeding 7.5 tonnes.  As the vehicle is used for the carriage of goods, then the parents must consider whether they are subject to the EU drivers’ hours rules.  There is an exemption for the non commercial carriage of goods, but if the gross vehicle weight exceeds 7.5 tonnes then the exemption does not apply.  Parents therefore need to consider the rules and the implications on their regular work.

It is likely that most events will take place at the weekends.   This means that parents need to think when will they be able to fit in a regular weekly rest period of at least 45 hours?   It has to be uninterrupted rest.  For most parents this will either need to be fitted in before they return to their regular work on a Monday morning or be taken during the working week.  It is likely to be a particular problem if children want to be taken to an event that takes place on a Sunday.  Penalties for failing to take a weekly rest can be up to £2500.    Not only must a weekly rest be taken but the parent need to record all other work that is done during that week, which must be kept with them when driving the vehicle to which the rules apply  and made available to a DVSA officer upon request.

A similar situation would arise if you were using a vehicle over 7.5 tonnes to carry other goods which were used on a non commercial basis as part of a hobby.    This would apply to taking vintage cars or vintage steam engines on the back of a wagon to shows and rallies and transporting boats, if the gross vehicle weight limit was exceeded.

Falling foul of the rules could end up adding to the costs of your  hobby and at the same time landing up with a criminal record.

If you feel that these issues may affect you and would like some specific advice please contact me on 01756 790631

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