The Most Onerous EU Requirements on Drivers since the Tachograph was Invented

The Government,  seemingly “sneaks in” the most onerous EU requirements on drivers since the Tachograph was invented, and they appear to have used the COVID crisis as a cover!

Cold Chain Federation member Backhouse Jones provides more information.

In just 20 days in August 2020, the SoS (with the EU) brought in a requirement, which applies to all EU Tachograph regulated drivers, and which the DVSA interpret as a requirement on each driver to record every hour of every day whether working, daily rest, weekly rest, on holiday or even on sick leave. That record must be made using a Tachograph, Digi-card or Printout.  From January 2022, the DVSA have changed their approach to the changes and have been enforcing them both at the roadside and during operator investigations.

Nothing has been done at all to raise awareness of the new requirements in the meantime. Apart from a subtle change to the online guide GV262 and PSV375 which were not flagged up, we can find no evidence of any attempt to warn and educate the commercial sectors and hundreds of thousands of affected drivers.

Furthermore, this appears to be bought in bypassing the trade associations in what must be the fastest non-urgent profound legislative change from the EU ever.

Normally EU legislation comes into force after a long period of preparation, and negotiation.  Even then, there is normally a period of about 2 years between the  publication of a new EU regulation and it entering into force. In this case, the draft regulation was issued on 15 July, published on 31 July and in force a mere 20 days later on 20 August 2020.

Why is this such an issue?

There are a large number of impractical implications to these new requirements. Every driver has to have his current Tachograph/digital record and records for the previous 28 days.  These records now include the 24h seven days a week record required under the DVSA interpretation of the  August 2020 changes.  Immediately all drivers therefore need to record their daily rest every day whether in the vehicle or not. E caisson all drivers have a huge burden of retrospective entry of the last 28 days as a manual entry, printout(s) or analogue charts.  These need to record all the other work, breaks, daily and weekly rest holiday and sickness absence! Think about the new driver starting his or her first day … they have to have at least 28 days retrospective records of their activity rest leave sickness etc and they need to enter that in one of the three prescribed ways. 

Some drivers only drive very occasionally through the year and the obligations on these are hugely onerous – particularly as typically they will have no idea when our even if they will drive again.

Employers need to make sure through analysis that their drivers are doing it properly and collate and analyse the data – this itself is no easy task.

We understand that various  Trade associations are now aiming to discuss with the government the requirements, but it is clear that in the meantime there must be nearly 100% non-compliance through genuine lack of awareness. 

There is a longstanding requirement on employers of drivers to train them in the requirements and therefore all operators need to urgently set up training for drivers on these new requirements. Indeed, even newly qualified drivers are not in our experience being trained in these new obligations, which is hardly surprising as there has been no DVSA or DfT publicity at all.Backhouse Jones  are offering a 2.5 hour e-Training session, delivered in conjunction with Gordon Humphreys from Foster Tachographs and Transport Compliance (the UK’s leading tachograph expert), on the obligations and how operators should manage, train and implement these changes.  We examine the rule changes in detail, the record keeping obligations for drivers, the impact on your analysis of drivers’ hours and tachograph records and the implications for operators and transport managers of getting it wrong. The courses have been and will continue to run throughout the year.

You can find these here.

Comments are closed.