Following an investigation by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), Owen McElroy Limited of Carrickrobin, Kilkerley, Dundalk, Co. Louth was before Dundalk District Court on Thursday, april 6. The company, which operates a road transport business, pleaded guilty to a series of charges for failing to produce driver’s hours records in respect of several vehicles operated by the company.
The Court convicted and fined the company a total of €10,000 in respect of the charges and also made an award of costs. 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.
Since February 2011, the RSA has successfully prosecuted thirty eight cases against both road transport operators and drivers for breaches of driver’s hours, tachograph and road transport operator licensing laws in County Louth.
EU Regulations require operators to organise and monitor drivers work and the clear purpose of the regulations is to place a responsibility on an employer of drivers to prevent contraventions of the driver’s hours rules and to promote road safety.
The EU tachograph and driver’s hours 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 Good Vehicles (HGV) 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 profiting from undercutting compliant operators, contributing to unfair competition in the road haulage industry and are a serious cause of concern from a road safety perspective.
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 An 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.