The Road Safety Authority (RSA), in consultation with the Department of Transport, has agreed to grant a temporary exception from certain provisions of the EU driving and resting time rules. It will apply to all drivers subject to the EU drivers’ hours and tachograph rules engaged in the carriage of goods, when operating on the territory of Ireland.
Commenting on the announcement Minister of State for Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD, said, “As part of the national response to Brexit and following requests from the haulage industry coupled with our recognition of the importance of the industry to our economy, the RSA is introducing a temporary derogation from the application of certain provisions of the EU driving and resting time rules from the 1st of January. This should help HGV drivers to deal with the consequences of delays at Dublin and Rosslare ports arising from Customs and SPS checks.
These delays will potentially impact drivers who are taking rest periods on the ferry from Great Britain to Ireland. The derogation is also intended to assist drivers on national journeys who either get caught up in traffic congestion in the ports or on any of the adjacent routes or alternatively have their daily working period impacted elsewhere by these delays. I have asked that these arrangements be kept under continuous review. While Customs and SPS checks on goods entering Ireland from Great Britain may impact on haulage operations, driver safety and other road user’s safety must not be compromised. Drivers should not deviate from the rules if it jeopardises road safety nor should they be expected to drive whilst tired – employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their drivers’’.
Coming into effect: The derogation will come into effect from the 1st of January 2021 until the 30th of January 2021. The European Commission has been notified, and the European Commission will in turn notify all other EU Member States of this derogation. The derogation will be reviewed by the RSA on a daily basis from the 1st of January, to ensure that it is appropriate and fit for purpose. The derogation may be modified, as appropriate.
Summary of measures being introduced: The EU drivers’ hours rules ordinarily allow a HGV driver on an international journey by ferry to interrupt his rest period no more than twice for a duration not exceeding one hour in total. The number of interruptions is being increased to three and the duration of these interruptions to a maximum of three hours to assist drivers transporting goods that are subjected to Customs and SPS checks at Dublin or Rosslare ports. The obligation to take a daily rest period within the 24hour period will be increased to 26 hours.
For HGV drivers on an international journey availing of the “ferry rule” and arriving into Dublin or Rosslare ports but who are not subjected to Customs or SPS checks, the number of interruptions remains the same but the total duration of the two interruptions is being increased from one hour to two hours. The obligation to take a daily rest period within the 24hour period will be increased to 25 hours.
Reminder points to note regarding ‘ferry rule’: In all instances the daily rest period must be commenced no later than twelve hours after the start of the daily working period.
If a driver is taking a reduced weekly rest period it must be started no later than 6×24 hour periods from the end of the previous weekly rest period.
Reduced daily rest periods: The rules relating to reduced daily rest periods are also being relaxed. Drivers are limited to availing of three reduced daily rest periods of at least nine hours in duration between any two weekly rest periods. This is being increased to five.
Appropriate arrangements must be put in place to record any deviation from the normal rules as provided for in this temporary derogation.
While Brexit may impact on road transport operations, driver safety or other road user’s safety must not be compromised. Drivers should not deviate from the rules if it jeopardises road safety nor should they be expected to drive whilst tired – employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their drivers and other road users.
The Road Safety Authority and the Department of Transport will also over the coming days and weeks continue to closely monitor the potential impacts of COVID-19 and related restrictions on supply chains.