HGV and PSV Drivers Be Aware!

 HGV and PSV drivers be aware, be very aware!

All operators and drivers, but particularly HGV and PSV drivers, should be aware of the relatively new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.  Recent sentencing guidelines and history have confirmed that the sentences for all driving offences have been escalating.

Drivers who cause death by dangerous driving inevitably face long prison sentences whatever the mitigation, their age and previous good record.  Those drivers convicted of causing death by careless driving when over the alcohol limit are treated the same as those who cause death by dangerous driving, and may well face prison sentences.

Now there is the new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and for those driving an HGV or a PSV (with passengers aboard), dangerous driving has always been considered by the courts for sentencing towards the top end of any scale.

Dangerous driving falls into two categories; the obvious one of driving dangerously, and the other, perhaps not so well known in the industry, of driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition which the driver did know, or ought reasonably to have known about.  Operators must also be aware of the possibility of their being prosecuted with or even without the driver and either the company or its directors/transport manager(s) if their systems for repair and maintenance are found to be faulty or if drivers are over their hours when an accident occurs.

If you believe there is a fault with a vehicle you are driving or running then it is even more essential that you stop driving immediately, or take the vehicle off the road,  for if an accident (caused by that failure) follows, you will now inevitably go to prison and not just for a month or two.

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that sentences approaching the maximum of five years could apply in the most serious offences and sentences of between one and three years will become common.  For operators it is even more fundamental and essential that they have in place proper and complete systems for service and maintenance and ensuring that these are fully and properly managed.

If you would like any further advice on this matter, what is required for your business and how to implement it, please contact us on 01279 818280.  If you quote reference "HGV ARTICLE" then we will give you 30 minutes legal advice for FREE!