Avoid penalty fines in your van
Five of the most common fines for van drivers, and how to avoid them
If you drive a van for work; naturally you are likely to spend more time on the road than the average person and with more time spent on the roads comes higher risk of attracting penalty points or fines for misdemeanours in your driving.
Whilst you should always pay due care and attention when driving your van, here are five of the most common ways you could see yourself stumping up for a hefty fine and what to do to avoid them.
Oftentimes it is easy to consider time spent driving your van as a valuable opportunity to call clients, colleagues or suppliers without eating into the time spent on the job.
Every time you pick up your phone while driving however, you run the risk of a sizeable £200 fine as well as six penalty points on your licence.
Pulling over, stopping at traffic lights or being caught in a traffic jam is no excuse either. So long as your engine is running, you are culpable for any use of your phone.
Incorporating hands-free within your van can help you evade trouble and allow you to maximise productivity in the time you spend driving.
Running a red light
When it comes to ways of landing yourself in trouble on the roads, it’s frightening to think that drivers running red lights is such a common one.
Whether you believe a road to be clear or not, there is no excuse for ignoring a red traffic light and doing so not only endangers yourself and other road users – it can also cost you £100 and three penalty points.
Although driver awareness courses are often available to first time offenders, this also costs around £100.
While you may think being an ‘amber gambler’ could rescue you more time in your day, in reality it could end up costing you far more than the 30 seconds you might shave off your journey.
Smoking inside your vehicle
Smoking inside commercial vehicles is an entirely different matter to smoking inside non-commercial vehicles.
It’s a common misconception that smoking in your company van would only be law-breaking if you were to have a child or apprentice under the age of 18 with you. However, this is not the case.
It is illegal to smoke in any van used primarily for business purposes by more than one individual and being caught doing so can result in a £50 on the spot fine.
Further to the illegality of smoking in your van, failing to display a no-smoking sign in your vehicle is also an offence which could see you struck with a £200 fine.
The sign needs to be a minimum size of 75mm in diameter and clearly indicate that the vehicle is not to be smoked in.
When time is money it is easy to see a fast-paced work ethic as a sure-fire way to maximise your earnings.
When it comes to driving your van however, speed is only going to cost you money – particularly with the recent changes in maximum punishments for those caught travelling over the speed limit.
Where as the previous maximum penalty was £100 and three points (not an insignificant punishment by any means), speeding offences now carry penalty fines of up to £2,500 and six points depending on severity of the offence.
Keep yourself, your passengers and other road users safe by abiding to speed limits and you’ll be happy you avoided a serious and unnecessary cost to your business.
Keeping the engine running
Whilst running red lights, or committing a speeding offence is widely known to attract penalty points and fines, you might not know that leaving your engine running in certain situations is also punishable with an on-the-spot fine of £20.
As long as you are not mobile in your van, your engine should be off – unless you are stationary at traffic lights or in a traffic jam of course.
It is an offence to have the engine running if you’re parked up. Whether you’re waiting for a co-worker, or just eating your sandwiches your engine needs to be switched off to avoid running the risk of a fine.
Avoiding these unnecessary offences will help keep you and your van on the road and your business on the move.
*Fines correct as at time of publishing
Did you know? RAC Business Breakdown cover includes van breakdown as standard, including like-for-like van replacement if we can’t fix your vehicle at roadside when you add Onward Travel to your policy. More information here.