Having a tachograph analysis system that produces these letters is a good starting point because it demonstrates that infringements are being identified. However, the letters should be part of a much wider monitoring process. What operators ought to be asking themselves is: what is the intended purpose and value of these letters?
The answer to this ought to be twofold:
first, the letter should be a means of demonstrating with reference to documentary evidence that the operator has in a place a system for monitoring (and then achieving) drivers’ compliance with the drivers’ hours regulations
second, it should be one of the ways of highlighting to drivers where they have gone wrong so as to ensure improved performance.
The only way that such a system can be effective in serving these purposes is if the infringement letters are properly read, understood, and if necessary acted upon. Asking drivers to sign letters without properly reading them and then putting copies of those signed letters into the driver’s HR file is not good enough if this is all that is happening.
Drivers are unlikely to improve if they know that the worst that will happen if they commit repeated infringements is that they are asked to sign infringement letters every time, but nothing else happens.
Whenever infringement letters are generated, operators should speak to the drivers concerned to try to find out what has happened. Whether there is a reasonable explanation or the driver has made a mistake, a written record of the investigation should be made and should be kept with the driver’s signed infringement letter. In some cases, no further action may be required: in others, especially for repeat offenders, re-training or even disciplinary action may be necessary.