5 massive fines imposed on professional drivers. Should truck controls be increased any further?

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In the last few weeks, there has been heated debate both in the media and on the political scene whether truck controls should be intensified in the EU. To better illustrate the existing problems with serious violations in road freight traffic, Trans.INFO editorial team has prepared a list of the most spectacular cases of the last few months.

1 – Denmark: massive overdrive cost 66 thousand euros

A German driver was accused of a serious violation of the driving and rest rules in Denmark. At the end of February, Danish police officers stopped a truck for inspection driven by a 27-year-old driver from Germany. The officers noticed a lot of energy drink cans in the vehicle cabin.

A preliminary check of the tachograph records showed that during the last 28 days, the driver continued to drive almost every day after the end of daily working hours. He took the driver card out of the recording equipment and continued driving without recording working time. After a thorough check of the readings, officers found that the man exceeded his working time in the analysed period by as much as 893%

In six cases, the rest, which was to last 9 hours, lasted from 2 to 5 hours. Four times the driver drove between 16-22 hours without a break, although the regulations allow a maximum of 10 hours between daily rest periods. Additionally, no toll has been paid for the vehicle. A total of 28 charges were brought against the driver.

The total fine is over DKK 500,000 (about €66,900), distributed between the carrier and the driver. The police detained the truck as collateral for the fine.

2 – Germany: cargo securing failures and drivers’ hours’ infringement cost 32 thousand euros

A German police officer spotted a Lithuanian truck that aroused suspicion. On the tarpaulin in the semi-trailer, visible unevenness could be seen, which could indicate a poorly secured load. Suspicions of police officers were confirmed, but this was only the beginning of the troubles for a 28-year-old driver from Belarus. Cargo, i.e. cardboard boxes on pallets, were not strapped before starting the route.

Tachograph data also showed that the 28-year-old has repeatedly violated the rules of drivers’ hours. On several occasions, he happened to drive for 16 hours and longer without any break. 

Even police officers were surprised when the police computer calculated the amount of the fine based on the offences committed – we read in a police statement. Concerning the 28-year-old truck driver, proceedings were started regarding acts punishable by a fine of over 32 thousand euros.

3 – Germany: 42k euros for drivers’ hours’ offences

Three weeks ago, German police were carrying out truck checks. One of the drivers violated the drivers’ hours’ regulation. After reading the tachograph data, police found that in July the driver had been exceeding his driving time almost daily. The regulatory rest periods were also not respected. 

The trucker had to pay a total of 10,500 euros and his employer received a massive fine of 31,500 euros.

4 – Italy: 3,500 euros for manipulating the tachograph and non-compliance with drivers’ hours’ rules

In December, Italian police caught a truck driver manipulating the tachograph during control at the port of Bari. During a routine check, officers found that the tachograph at the time of the inspection recorded a break of more than 9 hours, although the trucker was driving before stopping for inspection. The police found an illegal tachograph device that manipulated the tachograph of the vehicle. According to local media, the driver was fined 3,500 euros for manipulating the tachograph and non-compliance with the rules on working and resting times and his driving license was taken. 

6 – Spain: six months in prison and a fine of 1080 euros for manipulating the tachograph with a magnet

On 22 January 2020, the Spanish Supreme Court issued a critical sentence regarding manipulation of the tachograph: ruling or interference in the operation of the device enacts falsification of official documents, which is punishable by a fine and imprisonment.

The Supreme Court passed this sentence on a driver who manipulated a tachograph using a magnet. The Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court sentenced six months in prison and a fine of 1,080 euros for the crime of falsifying documents for a truck driver who placed a magnet on the metal part of the tachograph motion sensor. 

Photo: Polizia Stradale Bari