From 1 February, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) of the Netherlands has tightened enforcement regarding drivers’ hours rules and tachograph fraud.
From now on, road checks can result in fines for violations made further into the past if serious violations of driving and rest times are found. The reason for the tightening is that the ILT sees that both companies and drivers continue to violate the law and are also looking for other forms of fraud.
Monitoring of drivers’ hours
Until recently, the ILT looked at the violations since the last daily rest period and drivers were only fined for violations of the driving and rest times when caught in the act.
However, as of 1 February, the ILT has also given fines for serious violations of drivers’ hours’ regulations since the last weekly rest period. If a driver has committed a serious offence during this period, such as a shortened daily rest period, their employer risks being fined.
Previously, we looked back at a maximum of one day during road checks for violations. During company inspections, we are now assessing compliance with driving and rest times over a longer period. But because the chances of being caught red-handed during roadside checks are very small, offenders in some cases have sometimes got away with very serious offences – explains Hans Drijer, senior road transport inspector. –“By looking further back in time during roadside checks and enforcing/fining, we are also making enforcement within Europe more uniform.”
Driver card withdrawal
If tampering with the tachograph is discovered during a roadside check, both the transport company and the driver risk a fine (€ 10,375 and € 1,500 respectively). However, the LT has found this is not sufficient to eradicate tachograph fraud. Therefore, drivers driving a truck with a manipulated tachograph now risk losing their driver card. Withdrawal of the driver card means that the driver is temporarily not allowed to drive a truck/bus with a digital tachograph.
During a company inspection, a fine is imposed on the employer in the event of fraud. Experience shows that drivers are often not aware of these fines and do not feel responsible for the violations.
That has changed on 1 February,” – says Drijer. – “If we find that the driver has clearly had a part in the fraud or has performed an action that made it possible to manipulate with a driver card or the tachograph, the driver also risks a fine of € 1,500.”
The ILT expects that the tightening of enforcement will reduce the willingness of drivers to engage in fraud.
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