Beginning February 2019, lorries meeting the most recent Euro 6 emissions standards will be eligible for a 10 per cent reduction in the cost of the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) levy. Lorries that don’t meet the latest emissions standards will be expected to pay 20 per cent more in their HGV levy.
Currently, the HGV levy is up to £10 a day or £1,000 a year, depending on the vehicle’s size and weight. However, the amount of emissions will also be a determining factor for the levy sometime in the future.
The change is a part of the government’s programme to improve air quality and reduce emissions, as lorries with the cleanest emissions produce 80 per cent less nitrogen than dirtier ones, according to the Department for Transport’s research.
What Are the Euro 6 Standards?
The Euro 6 standards apply to all new cars registered after 1 September 2015 and defines acceptable limits for exhaust emissions. The limits are as follows:
- Carbon monoxide: 1.0 g/km
- Hydrocarbons: 0.10 g/km
- Nitrogen: 0.06 g/km
- Particulate matter (direct injection only): 0.005 g/km
- Particulate matter (direct injection only): 6.0×10^11/km
- Carbon monoxide: 0.5 g/km
- Hydrocarbons and nitrogen: 0.17 g/km
- Nitrogen: 0.08 g/km
- Particulate matter: 0.005 g/km
- Particulate matter: 6.0×10^11/km
Who Will Likely Be Affected?
Companies operating HGVs will be most impacted, especially if vehicles in their fleet were manufactured before 2015. Vehicles manufactured after September 2015 should meet emissions standards.
How Can I Comply?
If a vehicle fails to meet the emissions standards, there are a few options available to help reduce the amount of emissions produced by the vehicle.
- Have the vehicle regularly serviced.
- Instal in-cab technologies that monitor driving and provide performance feedback to help encourage driver behaviours that lower emissions.
- Encourage your drivers to drive more smoothly, which helps increase fuel efficiency and thus reduce emissions and costs.
However, one of the most effective methods to ensure that a vehicle complies with emissions standards is to instal a selective catalytic reduction system, which reduces nitrogen emissions. Another option is injecting fuel tanks with cerium each time you refuel the vehicle, which helps optimise the diesel particulate filter.
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Beginning on 5 March, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) traffic examiners will begin issuing on-the-spot fines to any lorry, bus or coach drivers for drivers’ hours offences committed in the last 28 days, such as exceeding daily driving limits or not taking enough breaks. Previously DVSA examiners could only fine drivers for offences committed that day, or ongoing offences such as manipulating tachograph records.
If drivers are caught breaking the rules, a DVSA traffic examiner can fine them up to £300. However, in a single roadside check, the traffic examiner can now issue fines for up to five separate offences, which means a driver could be fined up to £1,500. This applies no matter where the offence occurred.
What’s the Problem?
Driving tired is a serious problem. About 40 per cent of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles, while driving tired is responsible for 20 per cent of all accidents, and up to 25 per cent of all serious and fatal crashes, according to government data.
What Rules Will DVSA be Scrutinising?
Here are the rules that the DVSA will be enforcing:
- Drivers (and employers) cannot and will not manipulate tachograph records.
- Drivers can work an average of 48 hours, but no more than 60 hours in a single week.
- Drivers can drive no more than 10 hours each night, unless there is a workforce agreement to work longer.
- Drivers must take a 30-minute break for every six to nine hours of work. If drivers work more than nine hours, they must take a 45-minute break. (Note: Breaks can be broken up into 15-minute segments.)
- Drivers must take a 45-hour rest break at least once every two weeks. Since 1 November 2017, DVSA has the authority to fine drivers up to £300, if they spend their full weekly rest breaks parked in places where it causes a problem, such as a layby.
- Drivers must take their weekly rest after six consecutive 24-hour periods of working.
- Drivers must not take their weekly rest breaks completely in the cab of their lorry.
What Counts as Work?
Here is what the DVSA considers work for drivers:
- Delays at a distribution centre
- Time spent travelling in the vehicle, but only if no work is carried out, such as navigating
- Reporting for work before being informed that no duties are to be undertaken for a specified period
- Accompanying a vehicle being transported by boat or train
How Can I Comply?
If your organisation employs lorry, bus or coach drivers, or you yourself are a driver, here is some simple guidance to help you comply with the DVSA’s driving rules:
- Plan where in your route you will take your breaks as well as daily and weekly rests.
- Be aware of the signs of fatigue, which include restlessness, lapses in attention and dizziness.
- Get a good night’s rest and avoid indulging in too much caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants.
Be Smart, Be Mindful, Be Safe
For more information on the latest news about fines and regulations, contact GRP Insurance Services today.
Because many people drive every single day, they tend to forget how dangerous it really is. But just because people are accustomed to driving does not mean they are safe while doing so. For commercial drivers especially, driving involves regularly travelling at high speeds on congested motorways.
Many drivers make the mistake of believing they are invincible behind the wheel. Commercial drivers spend so much time on the road that driving begins to feel like second nature. But be careful—complacence begets carelessness.
As an employer or manager of commercial drivers, you must ensure your employees stay alert behind the wheel and avoid the numerous and varied risks on the road. Educate yourself and your employees on the following dangerous everyday driving risks.
Tired drivers are lethal. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency estimates that one-fifth of accidents on motorways may be caused by drivers falling asleep while driving. Although commercial drivers often feel they are able to drive for long stretches without a wink of sleep, they will eventually need to stop and rest. Continue reading