Thursday 20 June 2019

Making sure drivers and vehicles are safe on the road

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RSA expert

WHEN it comes to commercial vehicles, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has a number of responsibilities.

They include:

■ Bringing in and enforcing regulations on roadworthiness, drivers' hours, tachograph, operator licensing and drivers' certificates of professional competency; and

■ Collaborating with, and supporting, gardaí and others to improve enforcement and to advocate for improved road safety.

We are applying an increasingly targeted approach towards enforcement of operators of heavy commercial vehicles. We do so by using our 'Commercial Vehicle Operator Risk Indicator', or CVORI as we call it.

This is one of the tools we use to target our enforcement resources where there is most risk. We use it to help decide which operators should be inspected more often and more intensely.

The system is based on data collected by the RSA over a three-year period.

There are two separate risk areas: 1. Roadworthiness - based on items to do with safety, condition of vehicle and the operator's compliance with their legal obligations. It includes test performances at the Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing centres (CVRT).

2. Driver hours, tachographs. This rating is based on the operator's compliance with the likes of working time directive and requirements to hold a road transport operator licence and driver's certificate of professional competence.

The CVORI risk indicator can change depending on several factors of course, such as roadside and premises inspections, commercial vehicle tests and prosecutions.

The easiest way to improve their risk rating is to do the basic things right: ■ Have current certificates of roadworthiness displayed on all vehicles.

■ Make sure drivers comply with driving time, breaks, rest periods, working time rules etc.

■ Keep commercial vehicles roadworthy. Check vehicles for potential defects.

■ Check tachograph equipment and driver cards work properly.

■ Always conduct walk-around checks before driving.

■ Keep adequate records on drivers' hours

■ Have a current operator self-declaration. And so on.

Operators with a red CVORI rating (high risk) can expect to have more inspections than those with a lower rating. Having a CVORI green rating doesn't mean you will never be inspected. Random inspections will continue.

So everyone can still expect some level of RSA inspection.

Most of the non-compliances detected at roadside inspections and failures at the annual test should have been detected by the operator.

Similarly, issues picked up during inspections of premises should be known to the operator and would have been avoidable.

The apparent indifference by some to comply with key rules undermines the safety not just of the driver but also other road users.

The RSA has published a range of simple, straightforward information for operators and drivers on www.cvrt.ie, to help comply with roadworthiness and drivers' hours rules.

Irish Independent

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