Remember the revised fixed and graduated penalties 19 August 2013
With effect from last Friday (16 August 2013), fixed and graduated penalties have increased – including those covering C&U (Construction and Use) regulations, excess weight, driver's hours offences etc.
The highest level of fine (£300) is now a very considerable proportion of a driver's weekly net pay – sometimes far in excess of what a driver might be fined in the magistrates' court.
Woodfines Solicitors makes the point that offences attracting the top level of fine include failure to produce a digital driver card, not having the full set of driver's hours' records or driving with no insurance.
Given the high levels of fixed penalties, it is essential that drivers double-check that they have with them all necessary licences and cards [DL, DQC, digicard, etc] and other paperwork, and that they carry out a 'nil' daily-defect procedure at first walkaround check to be able to positively demonstrate to VOSA and the police that any defect which may have been detected has occurred since that check," advises Tim Ridyard, for Woodfines.
"A fixed penalty should not be imposed where there is clear evidence of a recently occurring defect," he continues.
"VOSA policy suggests no penalty should be raised, [although] the police do not regard themselves as bound by VOSA policy in any way, of course, so their approach can be different," he adds.
"Our advice is that drivers should always consider matters carefully before deciding to pay a fixed penalty. They do not have to make any payment at the roadside in any event, unless they are deposits.
"In many cases, there can be a defence or other reason why the penalty should not be paid. Once payment has been made, it is extremely difficult to reverse this. Countless penalties are paid when this is avoidable."
Ridyard warns that operators should also remember to notify the Office of the Traffic Commissioner of any fixed penalties issued under their licence within 28 days.
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