Latest insights from our experts
Fixed penalties the future of Traffic Commission enforcement
The number of drivers’ hours and tachograph offences detections have increased by almost 50% in last year although prosecutions for the same period falling by almost a third as the Traffic Commission attempts to use fixed penalty enforcement for all but the most serious offences.
Fixed penalties do not require a court appearance from enforcement officers, helping to increase the detection rate by keeping more enforcers on the roadside and out of the court.
The increased use of fixed penalties can however cause issue as often fixed penalty notices are accepted by drivers even when an appeal might have been successful, without proper consideration of the impact it might have on their employer’s operating license. The number of fixed penalty notices imposed on an operator or their drivers will influence the Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS). The OCRS is used by the DVSA to decide whether to stop a vehicle or conduct an inspection of an operator.
A higher OCRS could lead to more inspections, resulting in more prohibitions being imposed. Increased prohibitions may result in sanctions on the operator, including a reduction in the number of vehicles authorised or even a suspension or revocation of a licence.
Whilst fixed penalties continue to be the primary form of traffic offence enforcement, operators need to accept that their operating licenses are effectively in the hands of their drivers. Training staff on how to respond to fixed penalties and the consequences for acceptance must be a priority.
Photo by: Robert Chlopas