It’s Not Very Nice Being Made Redundant.

Sixty Days Notice.

At the beginning of 2019, I was given notice from the company that I had been working at for the previous eighteen and a half years, that I was going to be made redundant.

The company announced that they were going to close the depot that I was working at and would be relocating to much larger premises 50 miles away from their current location, and this was going to be my sixty days notice period.


‘Oh great’, was my sarcastic thought when the announcement was made, ‘what am I going to do for an income now?’ ‘How am I going to find a job that not only I would like doing, but one that would give me the same kind of income and security that I was about to lose?’

On the positive side, I had eighteen years of service behind me, which meant that I would be entitled to a good redundancy package, I am an experienced commercial vehicle driver of thirty-something years and over time I may be able to find a suitable replacement opportunity.

Traditional Quiet Period.

It was not happening until the end of March, which would mean that the traditionally quiet period in the transport industry would be over, but there was something else that was happening at the end of March 2019, Brexit!

Brexit never happened at the end of March 2019, but my final day at my company came on the 29th of the month and I was now finding myself redundant and unemployed.

I had registered at about five employment agencies and I had managed to work for three days in the month of April. I later learnt that April this year was a quiet period for the transport industry because of Brexit.

Full-Time Position.

Then in May, I managed to secure a full-time position. It was a Monday to Friday position that was close by, no driver wants to be driving all day then have more than twenty miles to travel to get home, I certainly did not.

This lasted me until September, I won’t go into details but I was not all that keen on the job and it just did not work out. At the beginning of October, I found myself unemployed again. I was still registered with some of the employment agencies and I still had a profile and CV registered at Indeed.

Not Working Again!

It was from my profile that I received a call from another employment agency inviting me to register with them for a temporary driving position with a large company over their Christmas peak period.

It was a Monday to Friday position and was to cover a twelve-week period starting at the beginning of November and was subject to me passing a driving assessment and all the necessary security checks.

I started on the first week of November and worked every weekday until the middle of January 2020 when it came to an abrupt halt, the busy Christmas peak period had come to an end, and I was now finding myself redundant and unemployed again!

January and February is not a good time in the transport industry as it is traditionally a quiet time especially if you work for an agency. Agency workers do not have the luxury and benefits that come with being in full-time employment.

The Bills Still Need Paying.

Whether you are paying a mortgage or renting your property, you still need to keep on top of your bills, this includes council tax, gas and electricity, water rates, loans, credit cards etc, these do not stop because you have stopped working, they still need paying.

There was no help from the government for me anyway, so I had no time for sitting around on my big fat bum, I had to find employment of some sort, I was looking every day on the world wide web, updating my CV and registering on websites such as Indeed, Monster Jobs, Jobs 4 You etc.

An Urgent Call.

One day near the end of January, I received an urgent call from an agency quite late in the afternoon and they wanted me to go over to their office and register straightaway as they said they would be able to put me in a job the very next day, as it was about 16.30hrs and the office would be about a 45-minute drive, I declined their invitation but suggested that I could come over the next day and register.

The next day I went and registered at the agency and after interviewing me, they said that they would move me to the top of their pile, told me not to worry and would have me working within a couple of days. Probably around two weeks later they found me some work that I accepted and would be an ongoing position.

Soon after I started the temporary position I discovered that the previous driver had left, he came in to collect his things from the truck that I was now driving. He told that he had a business and was now ready to go full-time and had to leave the company. He also told me how much he was earning here.

Another Full-Time Position.

After I had been there for about two weeks the boss called me over and offered me a full-time position, when I found out what the salary was and there was not much overtime available I told him that I would not be able to live on the money that he was offering.

I also had an interview lined up, with yet another agency for regular work with a large supermarket, although some distance away it was doable, so off I went to attend a driving assessment and interview.

I decided to take on the supermarket work as the hourly rate was better, there was scope for overtime and premium rates were available on weekends and bank holidays, also there was the prospect of a full-time position with the supermarket.


Just after I started working as an agency driver at the supermarket, Covid-19 was taking hold and the lockdown came into effect and many workers were being furloughed.

A year after being made redundant I still don’t have a full-time position and feel very un-secure about my own future and as I said at the beginning it is not very nice being made redundant.



Carry Out Your Daily Vehicle Checks Properly.


Daily vehicle checks should be done properly to ensure that the vehicle you are driving is free from defects and completely legal for you to take it out on the road. So before you start driving for the day there are a number of checks that you should make to be sure, this applies whether you drive the same truck regularly or have a different truck each day.

Initial Daily Vehicle Checks.

After reaching your truck and inserting your Digi card, I do it like this so that my card is recording a period of other work whilst I do my checks, of course, you can always insert your Digi card and enter this manually later on if you wish to. One of the first things you should do is check the oil, fuel and add blue levels, in most modern trucks this can be done via the dashboard gauges and electronic dipstick. You will need to top up if necessary.

Whilst you are sat in the cab you can check that the vehicle has a valid tax and MOT status and is insured, you can do this on your smartphone via the DVLA website, to check the MOT for a goods vehicle you need to use the check the MOT history on the website. To check the insurance, you can check on the Motor Insurance Database.

You definitely do not want to be caught driving without insurance, as this will lead to a hefty fine and points on your licence. Most employers will not take you on with penalty points for driving with no insurance, and I believe that insurance penalty points stay on your licence for four years, so you would be taking a break from driving.

Checking The Outside.

After this, you can switch the ignition on, but don’t start the engine yet, turn on all the lights including fog lights and four-way flashers, then go around the outside of the vehicle and check all the lights are working and free from damage, check the tyres for wear, cuts, bulges and punctures, check that the mud flaps are in place and secure, fuel cap, add blue tank cap are present and secure, check also the mirrors and all the glass. At this stage, you can also check the ‘O’ licence on the windscreen is valid and in date.

If your vehicle is already coupled up to a trailer you will also need to check the trailer over as well. Some drivers like to uncouple and recouple if their vehicle is already coupled at the start of their shift. Daily vehicle checks on the trailer will include the tyres, lights, mudflaps, fifth wheel safety clip, trailer coupling, air and electric lines are connected correctly and free from kinks and damage and the load security. The trailer landing legs need to be fully wound up and the MOT in date. To check the MOT on your trailer you will need the trailer ID number, this can be found on the trailer plate or welded somewhere on the trailer, it usually starts with a ‘C’.

The trailer ID number usually starts with the letter ‘C’ and has six numbers.

Again you will need to go to the DVLA website and use the MOT history to check the trailer MOT and insert the ‘C’ number. Some modern trucks have a light tester mode that you can use to test all of the lights, I prefer not to use this but you can if you want to, it is your choice.

If You Find a Defect.

The image below shows a tyre that I came across whilst I was doing my daily vehicle checks, you can clearly see the metal wires that were showing through the worn rubber. If you come across a defect like this, do not proceed, go and inform the transport manager or your boss. This is a danger not only to yourself but to the general public, you are also risking your driving license and your companies operators license.

Whilst doing my daily vehicle checks I found wire showing through the rubber tyre.
This was an actual defective tyre that I found whilst doing my daily vehicle checks.

If you find minor defects such as a bulb not working these should be rectified before you are ready to go out on to the road, if the defects can’t be rectified your company should offer you an alternative vehicle or take the vehicle off the road and give you something else to do. You shouldn’t put yourself at risk and in danger by taking out a defective vehicle, this can lead to all sorts of problems for you. You are within your rights to refuse a vehicle if it has a defect that cannot be rectified.

{ 0 comments } Check oil, fuel and add blue.

Tachograph Infringements, and How to Avoid Them.

Tachograph Infringements.

Tachograph infringements, what exactly are they? Unless you are an HGV Driver you may not know what a tachograph infringement is. A tachograph is an electronic device that is fitted in the cab of all commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonne GVW and is used to record driving hours.

A typical tachograph chart as viewed in computer software.

If those driving hours are exceeded then the driver will incur an infringement on his or her tachograph driving record and may be asked to take retraining and sign a letter from his or her employer.

Examples of infringements are;

  • Exceeding 4hrs 30 minutes of continuous driving.
  • Insufficient breaks.
  • Insufficient daily rest.
  • Insufficient weekly rest.
  • Exceeding working time directive or WTD.
  • Exceeding 56hrs total driving in one week.
  • Exceeding 90hrs total driving in a fortnight.
  • Driving over 90kmph.

Digital Smart Card.

The drivers hours are recorded on a digital smart card that is held and used by the driver, it looks similar to the driver’s licence except that it is white in colour and has a smart chip attached to it.

It also contains sensitive data about the driver such as his or her photograph, drivers name, date of birth and driving licence number and is valid for a five year period.

The digital smart card is inserted into a vehicles tachograph unit usually at the start of the drivers shift or working day, it will then record what the driver is doing such as, work other than driving, driving periods and breaks taken. At the end of the day, the card is usually removed from the vehicle and downloaded into a computer, via a card reader, for scrutinisation by the driver’s employer.

If any infringements are found by the computer software, the employer is notified and will issue an infringement letter and may offer re-training. Any infringement could lead to the driver being fined. Repeat offences and too many infringements could cost the driver his livelihood.

Avoiding Tachograph Infringements.

Avoiding infringements is pretty much straight forward, you just need to work out how long you have been at work, i:e you need to remember what time you inserted your digital tachograph card and the time that you started your shift. These should marry up as you should carry out a manual entry when you insert your card into the tachograph recording equipment.

Manual Entries.

If you started work at 08:00hrs and you went to your truck and inserted your card at 08:11hrs, the display on the unit will show the time and date that card was last used, so you need to enter in manually what you have been doing since. For example; If, the day before, you removed your card at 17:51hrs and then clocked off at 18:00 hours, you will need to show a period of other work using the cross hammers symbol from 17:51 to 18:00hrs.

A manual entry being entered on a digital tachograph.

Then you will need to show a period of rest from 18:00hrs to 08:00hrs the next day and a period of other work from 08:00hrs to the time of insertion i:e 08:11hrs. Once this is done you are then ready to start your working day, you need to remember in your head the exact time that you started work as entered on your digital tachograph.

The Six Hour Rule.

The reason you need to remember your start time is so that you can work out when your break is due, for example; if you started work at 08:00hrs then you should aim to take a 30 minute break before 14:00hrs, six hours after you started your shift. If you reach four and a half hours driving time before your six hours is up, then you need to take your break when this occurs.

You can take a fifteen minute break break before you have reached 6 hrs duty time, but then you must take a 30 minute break before you reach 9hrs duty time.

You then also need to remember the exact time you finished your break because you will be starting another six-hour period, for example, if you finished your break at 11:30hrs then you need to take another 30-minute break or be finished working before 17:30hrs, otherwise, you will incur an infringement because you would have broken the six-hour rule.

A typical tachograph with manual entries as seen via computer software.