If you are a commercial driver, tachographs are an important part of your working day. Tacographs record the speed of a vehicle, and periods when it is stationary and when it is moving. If you are facing investigation for a tachograph offence, contact the expert criminal defence lawyers at Qamar Solicitors for specialist legal help.
Haulage companies are legally obliged to ensure their vehicles are fitted with tachographs to ensure their drivers are not working beyond the legal maximum hours per day. This is particularly important to ensure the safety of both the haulage drivers in question, and their fellow road users.
Dealing with tachograph offences is a specialist area, and therefore requires the kind of specialist expertise provided by the team at Qamar Solicitors.
Tachographs: the law
Because tachographs help ensure haulage companies are not breaking employment law or road safety law, it is illegal to temper with the device, amend its data, or falsify an information relating to it. It is also illegal to fail to have a functioning tachograph fitted into a vehicle which requires one under the law. Vehicles for which tachographs are mandatory include heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), and vehicles which carry more than 12 passengers.
Tachographs can record a great deal of detailed information, including distance and speed travelled, brief and lengthy periods of rest, and whether or not someone has accessed the record sheet.
What are the maximum daily driving limits?
The rules surrounding the maximum amount of time certain commercial drivers can drive in a single day are complex, and it is important to be clear on them.
As a general rule, you cannot exceed 9 hours’ driving in one working day. However, this limit can be raised to 10 hours on occasion, but only twice during the single course of a week (the week being calculated to commence at 12.00am on a Monday).
There are also rules surrounding how often you must have a break: you can drive for a maximum of 4.5 hours without a break, and must then stop and rest for at least 45 minutes.
However, it may be more convenient to break up this mandatory resting period over the course of the 4.5 hours. For example, you could drive for 2 hours and have a 15 minutes break, then drive for 2.5 hours and have a 30 minute break. This would comply with the legislation.
In addition to these short breaks, the driver must have at least 11 hours’ free time with no job duties at all.
Penalties for tachograph offences
The law takes tachograph offences very seriously. If anyone is convicted of tampering with a tachograph - for example, by attempting to falsify information relating to breaks or distance travelled – he or she could face a jail term of up to two years, and unlimited fines. Failing to fit a vehicle with a tachograph when it is legally required could attract a fine of up to £50,000 for the owner/employer.
How can we help?
If you are facing a charge of a tachograph offence, you need expert legal assistance as soon as possible. Because of the complexity of the tachograph itself and the laws and regulations surrounding its use, you need to be confident you are securing legal advice from lawyers who are equipped to handle this specialist issue. At Qamar Solicitors our expert criminal defence lawyers understand the complexities surrounding tachograph legislation, and we can begin gathering crucial evidence to put together your defence.