The first of various changes continuing in 2016 and beyond mean that with effect from 2nd March 2015, drivers will not be required to use tachographs and hence have to comply with the relevant EU drivers hours rules in certain circumstances. Transport lawyer Tim Ridyard provides more information.
These changes will be highlighted in DVSA’s Guide Rules on Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs that is due for publication in April 2015 and which will also update the sector generally as to DVSA’s interpretation and approach to the drivers’ hours rules, both EU and Domestic. In particular that revised publication will give better guidance on exemptions and derogations (UK relaxations) of some of the rules.
What do the 2nd March changes affect?
1. Vehicles or combinations of vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7.5 tonnes that are used for carrying materials, equipment or machinery for the driver’s use in the course of his work and which are used only within a 100 km radius from the base of the undertaking and on the condition that driving the vehicle does not constitute the driver’s main activity.
This extends the existing 50kms radius to 100kms and applies to employees who essentially are not drivers though the dividing line as to when a driver is and is not a driver as the issue of ‘main activity' can sometimes be grey. In other cases it is more clear cut: scaffolders taking their scaffolding to site are normally not regarded as drivers whereas scaffolding delivery drivers concentrate on the transport of scaffolding. Very diverse businesses can benefit from this extended relaxation.
It should be noted however that..
..this is different to the exemption relating to Driver CPC that simply excludes drivers from the need for that qualification for carrying goods or equipment needed by the driver in the course of their work – that exemption is not qualified by the size of the vehicle or by radius. So a driver may be Driver CPC-exempt but possibly still have to use a tachograph.
We advise that when considering exemptions for drivers’ hours, Driver CPC or operator’s licencing, each set of rules be looked at individually as whilst there are overlaps there are also very significant distinctions.
2. Vehicles that are used to carry live animals between a farm and a market or from a market to a slaughterhouse where the distance between the farm and the market or between the market and the slaughterhouse does not exceed 100 km.
Again this extends to 100kms the existing 50kms distance and will be of benefit to the agriculture sector - it should be noted that this applies only to the transportation of live animals (there is a quite separate relaxation for animal waste/ carcasses that is strictly interpreted.)
Also amended is the following:
3. Vehicles used for the carriage of goods within a 100 km radius from the base of the undertaking and propelled by means of natural or liquefied gas or electricity, the maximum permissible mass of which, including the mass of a trailer or semi-trailer, does not exceed 7.5 tonnes.
These changes mean that all distance-related exemptions/ relaxations allow a consistent 100kms disregard.
On publication of the new DVSA Guide we will provide a further blog highlighting important points from the new version.
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Tim Ridyard is a road transport lawyer and Head of Crime & Regulatory Law at Woodfines Solicitors, and is based at the firm's Cambridge office. Please call on 01223 411421 or email email@example.com.