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Ask the MAC – November 2023

Every month we get a variety of questions and every month our intrepid Member Advice Centre has the answers.


Q. We have a driver from a non-designated country that has been driving for us and has now applied for their provisional driving licence. They have been a resident in the UK for the last six months. Can they still drive using their full driver’s licence or would they have to follow the rules of the UK provisional licence? 

A. The driver would be able to continue to drive on their full driver’s licence up until the 12 month point of becoming a resident whilst holding a UK provisional driver’s licence. If they do not pass a test within the 12-month period, they will not be allowed to drive as a full licence holder and the conditions of a GB provisional licence will apply. 



Q. Some of our vehicles are fitted with amber warning beacons. We have been told by our workshop that all the ECE R19 approved beacons need to be replaced by the new ECE R65 approved beacons when they fail, but we haven’t been unable to confirm this.  

A. The new requirement to fit defective beacons with ECE R65 beacons only applies to vehicles that already have them fitted from new. There are no mandatory requirements to retrofit the new style beacons as a replacement for the old ones. 



Q: One of our vehicles was involved in an incident where the vehicle was wedged on a narrow bridge. As a result of the investigation, it was suggested that the vehicle have width markers fitted in the cab. Would this be permitted?

A: The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations state that height markers are required for vehicles with a travelling height over 3m.

As part of the regulation, it also stipulates that ‘no other letters or numbers which could be understood as being an indication of any height associated with the vehicle or any trailer drawn by it are displayed in the notice.’

If these markings could be misinterpreted by the driver as being the height of the vehicle instead of the width, then this would contravene the regulations.

It may be appropriate to review any planning systems or navigation systems issued to drivers to ensure that the correct route is taken, and that it is appropriate for the size of vehicle being driven.



Q: Our business offers Driver CPC courses to any driver that wishes to attend them. They are run throughout the year on a voluntary basis. The drivers are not told they must attend these courses and can book their own training outside of the business, but at their cost.

For the drivers who attend, would this be classed as other work?

A: The key considerations here are whether the drivers are under instruction to attend, and whether there are any repercussions if they decide to attend but leave part way through. If the driver is at threat of disciplinary action because of this, then it may be perceived that they are under instruction to stay.

If the choice to attend is entirely theirs and there are no repercussions, then this could be recorded as rest.



Q) Can we use the digital tachograph to find out the speed of the vehicle at the time of an alleged speeding offence? 

Only if detailed speed data is downloaded before 24 hours’ worth of driving has been carried out on the vehicle. Detailed speed data will only be stored on the vehicle unit (VU) memory for around the last 24 hours that the vehicle has been moving. After this time, the detailed data will be overwritten and lost. The VU retains information on overspeeding events, which are where the vehicle has been driven over the speed limiter (rather than road speed) limit.  

With digital tachographs, the information available to companies on speed is generally less accessible than on an analogue tachograph. However, it should be remembered that the tachograph is intended to be used to indicate where there is a potential problem with the function of the vehicle’s speed limiter, rather than identify road speeding offences. 



Q) What happens if we get a second hand or hired vehicle with a digital tachograph, where the previous user has forgotten to lock-out its data? 

A) The fact that the previous user has forgotten to lock-out the tachograph will not prevent the next operator of the vehicle from protecting their own data, nor will it let them have access to the previous user’s data (as long as they remembered to lock it in). Locking-out signifies the end of an operator’s interest in the vehicle and the data held on the VU. It is the locking-in of data before use that is the most important action. If you fail to lock-in data before you use it in these circumstances, your data will only be able to be read by the previous company’s card. 



Q) Should we be recording overspeed events as infringements if the vehicle is over 56mph for a period longer than 60 seconds, even though theoretically it’s not speeding? And how would the DVSA/Traffic Commissioner view it if we only recorded infringements for the purpose of debriefs for anything over 60mph and a period of 120 seconds? 

A) Regulations 36A and 36B of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (as amended) require certain vehicles to have a speed limiter fitted which must be set so that the stabilised speed of the vehicle must not exceed a set speed limit. 

Tachograph analysis reports that indicate ‘overspeed’ incidents are there to identify possible problems with the function of the speed limiter itself as the vehicle/driver may not be breaking the speed limit from a road traffic regulation point of view. 

When overspeeds alerts occur, they should be investigated to check that the speedometer is in a good and efficient working order.  

For example, it could be the case that the vehicle was travelling at 56mph when it began a descent downhill, which took it over the limited speed, which generates an alert, or it could be something that indicates a fault with the limiter. 

In this case the ‘overspeed’ will contravene the construction and use regulations regarding the requirement for the vehicle speed limiter to be set at 56mph, as the speed limit on a UK motorway for an articulated combination is 60mph. 

The holder of an operator's licence signs a declaration stating that: 'The licenced operator undertakes to make proper arrangements so that: the laws relating to the driving and operation of vehicles are observed. Failure to comply with the conditions or undertakings recorded on the licence may result in the licence being revoked, suspended or curtailed.' 

Vehicle operators are obliged to inform Traffic Commissioners about any relevant notifiable convictions (which includes defective speed limiters) received by them or their servants or agents. These are taken into account when determining the operator's fitness to hold a licence or good repute. 



Q) Do CMR notes need to be printed on carbonless paper? 

A) With regards to your query, I have read through the convention which does not stipulate whether using carbonless paper is acceptable. As long as all the prescribed information is printed, this seems to be the only requirement, depending on where you look there are mentions of different colours for each sheet. 



Q. With the clocks going back at the end of October, does the clock on the tachograph head unit need to be changed? 

A. The internal clock of a digital or smart tachograph is set to Universal Time Co-ordinated (UTC). The time displayed on the clock face can be set by the driver either to local time or to UTC. However, all data will be recorded by the vehicle unit (VU) on the time set by the integral clock, which operates on UTC; this is the same as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Drivers will need to remember that UTC is one hour behind British Summer Time (BST). So, between 01.00 on the last Sunday in March and 01.00 on the last Sunday in October, drivers must account for the difference when manually inputting activity details in the digital or smart tachograph.  

It is possible for drivers to set the display time on the VU to local BST, but this will not prevent the VU recording in UTC. Therefore, it is recommended that drivers leave the display time in UTC as a reminder of the difference. 



Q. How far can a works truck, that is taxed, travel to get fuel? I can see a limit of 1,000 road yards, but can they go further if taxed? 

A. The works truck would need to be registered and taxed to be used on the public highway; that being a road maintained at public expense. The Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 refers to the ‘immediate vicinity’ when defining a works truck, which Department for Transport has interpreted to mean 1,000 road yards. Based on this, a works truck would be unable to travel further to refuel, and alternative arrangements should be sought. 

Published On: 02/11/2023 14:00:00


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