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Business Operators


How road haulage laws are enforced.

The RSA is responsible for enforcing compliance with EU and national transport legislation.  We conduct inspections at the roadside in conjunction with An Garda Síochána to check compliance with vehicle roadworthiness standards and also drivers’ hours, tachograph, drivers CPC and the requirement to hold a Road Transport Operator Licence. You can access our latest published enforcement statistics here.

We have published our Compliance and Enforcement policy, a copy which is available here.

To find information about the inspections we conduct and how we select them -  Click here!

If you are an operator and you carry goods for hire and reward on a public road, then you are required by law to hold a valid operator’s licence.

Otherwise, you may be prosecuted and fined under the road transport acts. The maximum fine is €500,000. Any trader or business owner hiring an unlicensed haulier is also at risk of a fine.


We have initiated prosecutions against drivers and operators in respect of breaches of relevant legislation since 2009. See details of convictions.

Frequently asked questions

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána enforce the operator licensing provisions of the road transport acts.

As well as a fine of up to €500,000, if you are an unlicensed haulier, you can expect the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to look closely at your compliance with other laws, such as those covering:

An operator’s licence is unnecessary if your vehicle (or combination of the vehicles to be used) has a maximum authorised weight of less than 3.5 metric tonnes, including the vehicle, fully laden, and any trailer or semi-trailer.

The following types of carriage do not require you to hold an operator’s licence for national operations in the State.

1. Carriage of:

  • Cattle, sheep, pigs, livestock or turf
  • Milk or milk containers to or from a creamery or cream-separating station;
  • Newly harvested wheat, oats and barley from 1 August to 30 November each year from a farm to a place of storage, assembly or processing
  • Luggage in trailers coupled to passenger-carrying vehicles, to or from airports
  • Mails
  • Vehicles which have suffered damage or breakdown
  • Refuse and sewage
  • Animal carcasses for disposal
  • Bees or fish fry
  • Articles required for medical care in emergency relief and in particular for relief in natural disasters
  • Spare parts for sea-going vessels and aircraft
  • Objects and works of art for exhibition or for commercial purposes
  • Material, properties and animals to or from theatrical, musical or film performances or sporting events, circuses, exhibitions or fairs, or to or from the making of radio or television broadcasts or films
  • Goods which by reason of their value are carried in specially-constructed vehicles which are accompanied by police or other security guards
  • Goods which are your own property.

2. Occasional carriage of:

  • Goods to or from airports in the event of air services being diverted
  • Objects and materials exclusively for publicity or information purposes.

3. Funeral transport

4. Transit, in an unladen state, of a vehicle used for goods transport and intended to replace a vehicle which has become unserviceable in a Member State other than that in which it is registered, and the continuation, by the breakdown vehicle, of the transport under cover of an authorisation issued for the vehicles which has become unserviceable.  

To apply for a road haulage operator licence, contact the Road Transport Operator Licensing Unit:

Road Transport Operator Licensing Unit
Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport
Clonfert House
Co Galway

(091) 872950 or Lo-call (076) 100 1601

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 the Road Safety Authority.