26 May 2017
Fines Totalling €15,000 for Two Road Haulage Operators in Breach of Road Safety and International Road Haulage Regulations
Following an investigation by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), two road haulage operators have been convicted for breaches of road safety and international road haulage regulations. Kilmoss Limited of Ballydrehid, Cahir, Co. Tipperary was before Cashel District Court on 27 April 2017. The company who operate a road transport business, pleaded guilty to a series of charges for failing to produce and handover records at the request of an RSA Transport Officer as well as charges for failing to ensure relevant checks were made in respect of driver’s hours and failing to ensure correct use of vehicle recording equipment.
The Court convicted and fined Kilmoss Limited a total of €9,500 and also made an award of costs against the company bringing the total sanction imposed to in excess of €10,000. The RSA investigation revealed serious and systematic non-compliance by this road transport operator in ensuring compliance with the European Communities (Road Transport)( Working Conditions and Road Safety) Regulations 2008.
Separately following a roadside inspection carried out by the RSA, NMC Haulage Limited of Dungannon, Co. Tyrone was before Drogheda District Court on 16 May 2017. The company were convicted and fined €5,000 for failing to produce Community Licence documentation to an RSA Transport Officer at a roadside checkpoint in Rathmullen, Co Louth last year, contrary to the European Union (International Road Haulage Market) Regulations 2011. The court also made an award of costs against the company bringing the total sanction imposed by the Court to €5,876.
Since October 2010, the RSA has successfully prosecuted 50 cases against both road transport operators and drivers for breaches of driver’s hours, tachograph and road transport operator licensing laws in Tipperary and since October 2015, 26 cases against road transport operators from Northern Ireland for breaches of these regulations.
EU Driver’s Hours Regulations require transport operators to organise and monitor driver’s work. It is the employer’s responsibility to prevent contraventions of the driver’s hour’s rules and to promote road safety. EU International Road Haulage Regulations requires authorised hauliers from other Member States who are transporting goods in Ireland to carry on board at all times and present for inspection Community licence documentation.
The EU tachograph and driver’s hour’s rules are designed to protect against driver fatigue and to protect the travelling public. The existence of the tachograph and driver’s hours regulations and the detailed requirements designed to promote road safety, are widely known by employers of heavy goods vehicle drivers. Non-compliance with the driver’s hour’s regulations results in driver fatigue which is a contributory factor to 1 in 5 driver deaths in Ireland. Operators in breach of driver’s hour’s requirements are also profiting from undercutting compliant operators and contributing to unfair competition in the road haulage industry.
The RSA is working hard to make our roads safer. A more targeted approach towards enforcement is being implemented and those operators who are serially and seriously non-compliant are being targeted by the Authority and the Garda Síochána. The Authority tries to minimise disruption to the most compliant operators. A stepped approach to enforcement is applied by the RSA and only the most serious cases are taken to Court.
- The number of hours a professional driver can drive in a day/week is closely regulated in order to minimise fatigue-related collisions. Driver fatigue is a known risk factor in road collisions and can cause loss of concentration or worse, lead to a driver falling asleep at the wheel. Fatigue is a significant factor in heavy commercial vehicle crashes.
- EU law regulates the driving time of professional drivers using goods vehicles over 3.5t (including trailers) and passenger vehicles with more than 8 passenger seats.
The key requirements are that you must not drive:
- Without a break for more than 4.5 hours. After driving for 4.5 hours, a break of at least 45 minutes is mandatory. You can distribute that break over the 4.5 hours.
- For more than nine hours per day or 56 hours per week. This may be extended to 10 hours no more than twice during a week
- More than 90 hours in two consecutive weeks
There are also strict regulations regarding the average working time and the amount of rest that must be taken daily and weekly.
Tachographs are instruments that measure the amount of time a driver is on the road. There are two kinds: digital and analogue. Tachographs are fitted in the cab of trucks and buses and are used to monitor compliance with driver hours’ legislation.
Digital tachographs became mandatory in new commercial lorries and buses in May 2006. The provision of driver cards for use by drivers, companies, calibration workshops and enforcement officers is central to digital tachographs. Data is stored in the vehicle unit memory and on driver smart cards. The data contains a range of information including distance covered, vehicle speed (for previous 24 hours of driving), vehicle licence number, and driver activity (driving, rest, breaks, other work, periods of availability). A driver’s card can store information for a minimum of 28 days before it begins to be overwritten; the vehicle unit has a larger memory capacity and can store data for 365 days.
The vehicle operator has a number of responsibilities in relation to both kinds of tachograph:
- To ensure that the equipment is being properly used by drivers and
- To monitor drivers’ records and print-outs generated by tachographs . If there are breaches of drivers’ rules, the operator must address them and take steps to ensure they do not happen again.
- Retain documentation and records and produce same on request of an enforcement officer
The European Union (International Road Haulage Market) Regulations 2011 requires authorised road hauliers from other Member States who are transporting goods in Ireland to carry on board and present for inspection Community licence documentation at all times.