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Transport regulation - some spring reminders

12 April 2010

At a time of worker strikes and go slows, there is no slowing the changes to legislation that have been brought in by the government. In the specific transport arena alone, recent changes to legislation include new EU rules to govern the operator licensing system and the cabotage market, and amendments to the MOT requirements for vehicle sideguards.

Whilst keeping up with and adapting to the new legislation, it is easy to forget that other recent legislation still needs to be monitored. In particular, transport operators subject to the European rules will need to renew their working time agreements, and their digital tachograph cards.

Working Time Agreements

The Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 were implemented in the UK on 4 April 2005. They stipulate that, in general, working time for workers in the road transport sector must not exceed an average of 48 working hours per week over a 17 week reference period. If drivers work at night, there is a limit of 10 hours work that can be undertaken in any 24 hour period.

However, employers can agree with workers to extend the reference period for the average 48 hour working time limit up to a maximum of 26 weeks, can agree to extend the 10 hour limit for night work, and agree whether weekly working time will be monitored using a fixed or rolling weekly reference period.

Such agreements can only be made by collective agreement (between the employer and a trade union) or in some cases a workforce agreement. Such agreements can only be valid for a maximum of five years, and so agreements which were concluded around the time that the Regulations came into force will urgently need to be renewed.

Digital tachograph cards

Also in 2005, the DVLA first started issuing digital tachograph driver cards, which are personalised to the individual driver, and company cards. The cards are valid for five years, after which the card will stop record drivers activity, and operators will be unable to manage their data.

The DVLA has said it will issue renewal reminders to drivers and companies whose cards are due to expire. To renew, you will need to fill out the application forms and send them to the DVLA together with the fee, currently £19 per card.

To ensure a new card is received before the current one expires, cardholders should apply at least 15 working days before the current card expiry date.

Lastly, we understand that there may be an issue with the driver and company cards issued prior to 26 August 2006. These cards will stop working up to 24 hours before their expiry date. The affected cards will show as invalid for this day and will be treated as malfunctioning. We recommend that cardholders driving on this day keep manual records using the print out facility.

Failure to keep tachograph records as required, and failure to adhere to working time regulations, could result in fixed penalty notices being issued to drivers and/or a prosecution by VOSA.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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