Relaxation of rules for lorry drivers transporting fodder set to continue

The relaxation of certain rules for lorry drivers transporting fodder is set to continue until the end of this month (April 30).

It was announced today that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport alongside the Road Safety Authority (RSA) had agreed to continue implementing a “pragmatic enforcement approach” when reviewing drivers’ hours compliance applying to animal fodder transport.

This followed a request for an extension by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

As well as this, it was confirmed that this approach will also be applied to drivers involved in the haulage of animal feed.

In a statement released today, the RSA said: “For the purposes of transport of fodder and animal feed, the daily driving time limit must not exceed 11 hours; the current rule specifies nine hours daily driving, which may be extended to 10 hours – but no more than twice a week.

“During compliance inspections, the history of the driver’s and operator’s overall compliance with the rules will be carefully assessed to ensure that any deviation from the driving and resting time rules relates only to the carriage of animal fodder and animal feed.

Any deviation from the driving and resting time rules must be a last resort.

“HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) 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. From May 1, 2018, all drivers – including those involved with transporting animal fodder and animal feed – will be required to demonstrate full compliance with the driving and resting time rules.

“The requirement to take breaks after four and half hours’ driving and daily and weekly rests remains and will continue to be rigorously enforced,” the statement added.

‘Drivers should not be expected to drive whilst tired’

The RSA explained 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 and animal feed.

Concluding, the authority said: “Drivers must record on the back of their analogue tachograph charts or digital tachograph print-outs the reasons why they are exceeding the prescribed limits, as well as demonstrating that the carriage involved is related to animal fodder or feed.

“Driver safety or other road users’ 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.”