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One in five commercial drivers flouting the law on rest breaks

One in five (22%) commercial drivers spend more than the legal limit of 4.5 hours at the wheel without a break, breaking road traffic safety regulations.

Part of research by telematics specialist Verizon Connect, the data shows how drivers are putting themselves at risk of fatigue-related road accidents as well as on-the-spot fines of up to £1,500 from the DVSA.

The survey also found that fleet managers identified fatigue as the cause of almost one-fifth (18%) of vehicle accidents, second only to speeding with 19%.

Operators also listed driver fatigue as their top safety concern (45%), followed by speeding and harsh braking (44%), and mobile phone use in vehicle (39%).

And while driver compliance is a major concern, the study also revealed fleet managers’ struggles to ensure their own regulatory compliance. Finding the time to ensure records are up to date was the most pressing concern, with almost a third (32%) spending four hours or more per week correcting and following up on mistakes in drivers’ tachograph data, the equivalent of 18.5 working days per year.

Fleet managers and operators are also required to download their drivers’ tachograph data regularly. However, the survey found that while seven in 10 (72%) of fleet managers download their driver tacho data regularly, it happens on average 10 times per year – which does not comply with the legal requirement to download the data every 28 days.

Derek Bryan, vice president, EMEA, Verizon Connect, said: “This is one of the busiest periods of the year for many commercial vehicle operators and they have an incredibly difficult job. There is a lot of pressure to meet strict service level agreements and cope with increased demand in the leadup to Christmas. But safety must always come first.

“Simple systems can cut down time spent on admin while ensuring compliance and driver safety. Fleet management systems can integrate tachographs so that managers can get near-real-time alerts when drivers are approaching their legal limits and ensure they take appropriate rest. Managers can also schedule to download driver tacho data remotely to automatically ensure compliance. The benefit is improved driver safety, compliance, and productivity, which lets managers reclaim time to focus on growing and improving the business.”

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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