Legal obligations for owners and operators
Know the law and your obligations around health and safety.
Driving for work is a high-risk activity. In fact, people who drive for work are 40% more likely to be involved in a collision.
In addition to the human cost, driving for work incidents create a financial burden for employers from vehicle repair costs, worker absence, third party claims and lost business opportunities. Driving for work also poses risks for fellow workers, members of the public and road users, especially vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
Owners, operators, employers, managers and supervisors must, by law, manage the risks that employees face and create when they drive for work.
The laws that apply to employers and operators
While drivers are responsible for how they drive, as an employer you are legally obliged to help make driving for work safer for everyone.
Owners or operators may be prosecuted for a work-related road incident if it is proven you have not managed safety properly.
An Garda Síochána, sometimes in collaboration with the HSA, are responsible for enforcing road traffic laws and investigating collisions and fatalities.
The laws that influence driving for work in Ireland are:
- Road traffic laws: The Road Traffic Act 1961 and its later amendments govern driving on public roads in Ireland.
- Road transport laws: The Road Transport Act 2011 and its later amendments deal with the requirement to hold an operator's licence for anyone engaged in the occupation of a road haulage operator or a road passenger transport operator.
- Health and safety laws: The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and associated regulations influence driving for work in Ireland.
Secondary legislation in force to implement various sections of the Road Traffic, Road Transport, and Safety, Health and Welfare at Work acts mentioned above may also apply. Some useful links below:
- Safety belts
- Speed limiters
- Vehicle construction standards
- Vehicle lighting requirements
- Movement of abnormal loads
- Carriage of dangerous goods
- Commercial vehicle / national car testing
- Use of tachographs
- Drivers hours
- Operator licensing
- Driver certificate of professional competence
- Load security
- Vehicle repair and maintenance
Your obligations as an employer or operator
As an employer, you have obligations in the following areas:
Duty of care
You must take measures to ensure that work-related journeys are safe, members of staff are able to drive safely, and all vehicles and associated equipment are fit for use.
Drivers must obey the rules on driving time, breaks and rest periods and their vehicles should be roadworthy and fit for use at all times.
You must never:
- expect employees to drive under conditions that are unsafe.
- put pressure on a driver to complete a journey in a shorter amount of time than is needed or to use a vehicle that is not roadworthy.
- enter into contracts with driving schedules that could endanger your drivers or other road users.
Safe systems of work
You must document and put in place safe systems of work for securing vehicle loads.
You must have a safety statement that identifies all possible hazards, assesses risks to your employees and provides adequate controls to minimise risk.
Information, instruction, and training
You should give your employees proper information and training to protect their safety, health, and welfare.
Driving for work information and resources
Frequently asked questions
You should notify the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) if your employee is involved in an incident while driving for work, for example:
- Driving or riding a vehicle for their work
- Exposure to a dangerous substance or injury from an article being carried by a vehicle for work
- Road repair or road construction activities, including road works undertaken by others.
You will find more information on when and how incidents should be reported to the HSA in the HSA safe driving for work employer guide.
You should use the Collision_Recording_Form to report the incident to the HSA.
If you’re concerned that an operator or driver may not be complying with vehicle roadworthiness, tachograph, drivers' hours, driver CPC and/or operator licensing requirements, you can report your concerns in confidence to us.
Breaches of Road Traffic law, including the use of an overloaded vehicle, speeding and/or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, should be reported to An Garda Síochána.
We are responsible for enforcing EU and national transport legislation on tachographs, EU drivers' hours rules, the road transport working time directive, elements of road and passenger transport licensing legislation, and Driver CPC.
Since 2009 the RSA has initiated prosecutions against drivers and operators in respect of breaches of this legislation. Details of completed prosecutions (including the operator name and penalty applied) are published on our prosecutions page.