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Commercial vehicle offences

We understand that commercial vehicle offences are particularly sensitive, due to the threat they can pose to your livelihood if you’re accused.

As such, we work hard to stay abreast of updates to legislation in commercial vehicle laws, so that we can work effectively when handling these types of cases.

Breaches of the law by commercial vehicle drivers and operators can be subject to high penalties in the courts, so it’s important to seek proper legal advice. By contacting our advisors you could quickly be matched with expert representation.

What are commercial vehicle offences?

Commercial vehicle offences are those committed by drivers and operators of goods and passenger vehicles, including HGVs, LGVs, PSVs, and PCVs.

These offences affect both the driver of the vehicle and the company responsible for employing the driver. Examples include:

  • Driving a heavy goods vehicle without a licence
  • Tampering with or not fitting a tachograph, which records driving time and speed
  • Overloading the length and width of your heavy goods vehicle
  • Exceeding the limit for maximum permitted driving hours of a commercial vehicle
  • Lending, altering, or forging an operator’s licence
  • Taxi touting or plying for trade

If the Traffic Commissioner has concerns about your commercial vehicle licence, you may be called to a public inquiry or driver conduct hearing. This might happen if you fail to maintain your vehicle properly, fail to regulate your driver hours, fall into commercial insolvency, or face questions over your repute or criminal prosecutions.

At the public inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner may choose to take regulatory action that could include curtailment, suspension, or revocation of your licence.

What are the penalties for commercial vehicle offences?

The offence of operating a commercial vehicle without holding an appropriate licence carries a fine of up to £5,000.

Lending, altering or forging an operator’s licence, with the intent to deceive, carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

The penalties for infringements of drivers’ hours rules in the United Kingdom range from Level 4 fines of up to £2,500, to Level 5 fines of up to £5,000. Minor violations of drivers’ hours rules and tachograph rules carry penalties ranging from verbal warnings, to prohibitions, to prosecution.

If you are convicted of taxi touting, which is a breach of the law that states you cannot display the words “taxi”, “cab” or “hire” to solicit people in a public place to hire vehicles to carry them as passengers, you may receive a Level 4 fine of up to £2,500.

What are the defences to commercial vehicle offences?

We know that operators and drivers can commit commercial vehicle offences without realising. Maybe your business circumstances changed and you didn’t realise you needed to apply for a new commercial vehicle licence. Or if you didn’t pay close attention to the conditions of your licence and found yourself in breach.

On the other hand, drivers’ hours and tachograph offences may occur when you were unable to complete a journey due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. If you can prove you were unavoidably delayed in finishing your journey, leading to a breach of the rules, then there’s a chance of arguing down your punishment.

The EU legislation for drivers’ hours differs from the domestic legislation in the UK, and it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced motoring solicitor to establish the implications of legislation on your case.

In cases involving charges of taxi touting, the court’s interpretation of the driver’s actions may determine whether or not a conviction is brought.

I want to dispute a commercial vehicle offence charge – what should I do?

Whether you are facing regulatory action from the police, the DVLA, the DVSA, the local council, or another authority, it is important to speak to someone experienced in this area of law before you do anything.

We have access to solicitors who specialise in helping drivers and operators in all the instances noted above. Get in touch and we will be happy to have a no-obligation discussion of your circumstances.

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