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‘Trigger Offences’:

What are they?

Although there are numerous offences of various gradation that a driver and, by extension, a Transport Manager must make every effort to avoid, there are some, known as the ‘Big 5’, which if committed will essentially provide a ’trigger’ for enforcement agents to take punitive action.

1. Driving without appropriate documentation

By appropriate documentation is meant, primarily, driving licence, Driver Qualification Card, and ADR card.

  • Driving licence: if a driver does not hold a valid, appropriately-entitled photocard, whether due to loss or theft, a lapsed medical, or if the categories listed do not cover the vehicle being driven, the offence is considered severe. In the case of loss or theft, a driver has seven days to declare it to the DVSA; he is allowed to drive, after the declaration, without a licence until his replacement is issued.
  • DQC: The DQC is required to drive Category C, CE, D, and DE vehicles for hire and reward. The DQC may be lost, stolen, or expired. The DQC is issued automatically upon the driver’s completion of the CPC - Initial or Periodic - but, if a driver has no requirement to earn a wage from driving, he may drive vehicles from any of the above-named categories without a DQC.
  • ADR card: This is specifically required for the transport of hazardous goods. The ADR card is issued upon the driver’s obtaining the ADR qualification. This is a week-long course consisting of five-to-six examinations. It must be renewed every five years.
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2. Failing to use a digital tachograph card or using a card belonging to another driver.

Driving under EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations without a digital tachograph card is a serious offence that can result in heavy fines, suspensions and in the severest cases, prosecution. Driving with another driver’s card constitutes fraud and will be treated as such. If you lose your card, you must follow due procedure in reporting it to the DVLA within the relevant timescale. 

Tachograph cards can be applied for here.

3. Driving an unroadworthy vehicle

A vehicle with significant defects, of course, should not be driven on the public highway. Unroadworthiness extends to those vehicles without valid test certification. If the defects ae obvious – that is, observable upon inspection – the driver will be held responsible, on the basis that they should have been identified during the daily walkaround check, and reported to the Transport Manager or other responsible person.

4. Significant Overloading

The qualification for ‘significant’, for vehicles exceeding 12 tonnes GVW, is anything of 20% overloaded; for vehicles up to 12 tonnes GVW, over 25%.

5. Exceeding Driving Time Limits by 25% or more

Breaches of limits set by the EU Drivers Hours Rules are considered severe after the 25% mark. Particular attention is paid to breaches of weekly and fortnightly rest violations; however, drivers can expect enforcement action over breaches of the daily driving limits, too.

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