Infringement reports are generally reviewed by the operator’s transport manager. This report will identify breaches of drivers’ hours (no matter how small) that have been found in the analysis of the tachograph records.
Where a driver has infringements noted, transport managers should always discuss these with each driver in question, seeking any explanations for this or, if none is available, explaining the cause for concern with the driver. The driver and the transport manager (as a matter of best practice) should sign and date the report. This allows operators to have a written record evidencing a system in place for ensuring that the laws on driving are being observed (as required under the operator licence).
When an infringement report is reviewed by the transport manager for the operator, this should not be done in isolation. Looking at a single report may not highlight any issues or a few minor issues that do not cause any concern. However, if infringement reports are monitored collectively, operators may begin to establish a series of frequent mistakes made by a driver or a group of drivers.
Where a driver is found to be making the same mistake repeatedly, this may not be a result of him or her flouting the rules, but simply failing to properly understand the rules. In that situation, a fair and reasonable employer would not go straight to disciplinary proceedings, but rather look towards re-training.
With the ongoing obligation for training and learning that drivers have through the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC), operators in this situation faced with a driver failing to grasp the rules on drivers’ hours may consider signing that driver up for some accredited training on the subject.
Clearly, where a driver is failing to grasp the point, despite regular refresher training and guidance from the transport manager, the operator may feel that there is little option but to discipline the driver. Also, where the infringements are found to be serious (eg grossly over the set limits) and no explanation for this is forthcoming, again, an operator may feel that disciplining the driver is essential.
Persistent failure to take any action upon the identification of breaches (that are more than very minimal), be it through training, warnings or termination of contracts, could lead to an enforcement officer or a Traffic Commissioner being left with the view that the operator is condoning illegal activity and potentially putting other road users’ safety at risk. This would have dire consequences for the future of that operator’s ability to operate vehicles.