The RSA has said given the extraordinary circumstances of the current fodder crisis on farms, they will be taking a "pragmatic approach" when reviewing driver’s hours compliance with driving and resting time periods.
There has been on-going liaison over the past few days between the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Road Safety Authority about HGV transport operations associated with the delivery of animal fodder during the current fodder crisis.
Recognising the extraordinary and unexpected circumstances linked to unusual weather conditions in areas of the country and adverse impacts on the availability of animal fodder, the Road Safety Authority will adopt a pragmatic approach when reviewing driver’s hours compliance with driving and resting time periods during the course of roadside inspection and at premises inspections in respect of delivery and collection of such material.
During inspections, the history of the driver’s and operator’s overall compliance with the rules will be carefully assessed and that any deviation from the driving and resting time rules relates only to the carriage of animal fodder.
The RSA has said: "These arrangements apply from 6 April until 20 April 2018 but will be kept under continuous review in the light of the prevailing circumstances and having regard to wider road safety considerations."
"Any deviation from the driving and resting time rules must be a last resort. HGV operators must put in place contingency measures to cater for emergency and urgent situations and this must be properly documented and retained for inspection. This should be agreed by operators and their drivers."
The requirement to take breaks after 4½ hours driving and weekly rest remains and will continue to be rigorously enforced.
As regards weekly rest, RSA will also apply a pragmatic approach in cases where drivers take more than 1 reduced weekly rest over a two week driving period in respect of fodder deliveries.
They say that, "appropriate arrangements must be in place to record any extra driving time being undertaken by drivers in respect of the carriage of animal fodder."
"Drivers must record on the back of their analogue tachograph charts or print-outs the reasons why they are exceeding the prescribed limits as well as demonstrate that the carriage involved related to animal fodder."
"Driver safety and other road user’s safety must not be compromised. Drivers should not be expected to drive whilst tired - employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users," they concluded.
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