Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross TD, has signed the European Union (Road Transport) (Working Conditions and Road Safety) Regulations 2017 which give full effect to Regulation (EU) No.165/2014 on tachograph in road transport.

These Regulations are essential to strengthen the continuous enforcement of key road safety rules that apply to larger commercial vehicles and buses and the introduction of the SMART tachograph in 2019.

The Regulations also contains provisions relating to the implementation and enforcement of Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport (driving time and resting times of drivers of large commercial vehicles and buses).

Speaking recently Minister said: “These Regulations will strengthen the continued enforcement of key road safety rules that apply to larger commercial vehicles and buses and will see the introduction of the SMART tachograph in 2019. Tachograph fraud is becoming an increasing problem for the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána and it endangers all road users. Appropriate legal provisions are vital to deal with this issue. This includes powers to immobilise vehicles if deemed necessary.”

The EU regulation also paves the way for the introduction of new SMART tachographs, which will periodically record a vehicle’s location via satellite technology.  The tachograph is a device that records the driving time, breaks, rest periods as well as periods of other work undertaken by a driver.  This new system will allow for remote monitoring by enforcement personnel who have the requisite equipment to interrogate the SMART tachograph to assess whether the vehicle concerned should be stopped for an enforcement check.  The new SMART tachograph is expected to come on stream in June 2019.

Regulation (EU) No. 165/2014 sets out obligations in relation to the construction, installation, use, testing and control of tachographs used in road transport.  The new EU Regulations are aimed at reducing tachograph fraud by making tachographs more resistant to interference and tampering and to facilitate easier enforcement. It includes measures designed to strengthen the standards that workshops and fitters must meet in order to install, repair, inspect and calibrate tachographs.

EU regulation 165/2014 does not change the responsibilities of drivers or operators in relation to the use or operation of tachographs.  When the new SMART tachograph comes on stream, it will also make life a little easier for drivers by no longer requiring them to manually record their location on the SMART tachograph.

Regulation 165/2014 also specifies a number of requirements to be put in place in relation to the approval of fitters and workshops. These include the following:

  • adoption of national procedures in relation to the competency and reliability of fitters and workshops which covers training, workshop equipment and good repute
  • audits and inspections of workshops including assessments of the security measures taken and the handling of workshop cards
  • unannounced inspections of a minimum of 10% of the approved fitters and workshops annually
  • prevention of conflicts of interests and
  • suspensions of fitters and workshops which fail to meet their obligations under the EU regulations.

The new Regulations empower control officers to request workshops to perform tests on a vehicle to determine if there is a manipulation device present. An Garda Síochána and the RSA enforcement personnel already have powers requiring workshops to undertake inspections of tachographs if there are suspicions that a manipulation device may be present and this new Statutory Instrument includes appropriate provisions in this regard. A new provision allows a member of An Garda Siochana or an officer of Customs to search a person who may be hiding a manipulation device on their person.

The EU regulations include specific requirements relating to:

  • prohibition on production, distribution, advertising for offer of devices intended for manipulation of tachographs
  • prohibition on falsification, concealing, suppression or destruction of data on a tachograph or driver card or record sheet
  • prohibition on having a device capable of interfering with a tachograph.