Graduated Fixed Penalties & Offences

Graduated Fixed Penalties & Offences

The Scheme of Graduated Fixed Penalties (GFPs) and Deposits was introduced in April 2009 and since then, many offences that once were dealt with through the courts are now dealt with by DVSA Examiners by way of a fixed penalty.

The Graduated Fixed Penalty Scheme covers many offences in relation to goods vehicles such as:-

  • Drivers’ hours and tachograph record offences;
  • Goods vehicle overloading;
  • Construction and use of vehicle offences.

It is often not “economic” to contest a fixed penalty but Transport Operators should bear in mind that although Operators will not receive fixed penalties (unless they are also the driver and the operator entity is a sole trader or partnership) nevertheless, fixed penalties can be referred to Traffic Commissioners.  Traffic Commissioners will then have the ability to call an Operator to a Public Inquiry.

Transport Operators are also required to notify any accepted relevant fixed penalties to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner and we can assist with this process.  When notifying penalties, the Traffic Commissioner should always be informed what steps the Operator has taken to ensure that the offence shall not be repeated.  The issue of any fixed penalty will also affect the Operator’s ‘Operator Compliance Risk Score’ (OCRS).

Alternative to a fixed penalty, matters may go for prosecution and Operator and/or Driver may receive a summons for such as goods vehicle overloading, insecure load offences, defective tyres, steering and other construction and use of vehicle offences.

We can advise upon the appropriate plea and what is relevant mitigation.  In certain circumstances even though offences are absolute, it may be possible to argue that the Operator and/or Driver was “morally blameless” and accordingly an absolute discharge should be imposed.  Again, it may be possible to argue there are special reasons as to why a driver should not be endorsed or, say where using a vehicle in a dangerous condition it might be possible to prove that an Operator and/or Driver did not know and had no reasonable cause to suspect that the use involved a danger of injury.

We can advise upon exemptions from endorsement, defences to weight prosecutions, special types of vehicles, abnormal indivisible loads and all vehicle related prosecutions and likely and defences.

Graduated Fixed Penalties & Offences – expert advice

We operate a dedicated Road Transport Law website with detailed advice for transport operators, visit www.keepmeontheroad.co.uk

For expert advice and assistance with vehicle offences contact one of our Road Transport Law Solicitors on Freephone 0800 088 6280 or email enquiries@rotherasharp.co.uk