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A tachograph is a device that measures, as a function of time, the distance travelled by a vehicle, its speed at a given moment, as well as the activity of a driver – his rest time, driving time, waiting time and other work. During the inspection by road transport inspectors, the reading from this device is the basis necessary to verify the activity of the vehicle and to determine whether it has functioned flawlessly. The recent judgment of the Provincial Administrative Court in Poznań shows who is responsible for deliberately disrupting the operation of the tachograph.

The term ‘magnet manipulation’, which is familiar to everyone in the transport industry, is unfortunately still true to life. Drivers use devices that interfere with the operation of the tachograph because it helps them to spend more time on the road to complete the course and return home sooner.

Recently, the Provincial Administrative Court in Poznań has been dealing with a case concerning a situation in which a driver installed a ‘magnet’ near a tachograph, thus disturbing its proper functioning and reading of values. Who is responsible for such behaviour in this situation?

Court dismisses the complaint

Before the case went to court, ITD inspectors had previously detected a prohibited device in the inspected vehicle. Then, the Provincial Inspector of Road Transport found a violation of road transport regulations and imposed an administrative penalty on the carrier, which was later confirmed by the Chief Inspector of Road Transport, maintaining this decision in force. A criminal sanction under the provisions of the Code of Conduct on Infringements was also imposed on the driver.

At a later stage, the carrier’s complaint was submitted to the administrative court in Poznań and was dismissed. The arguments used in it were based on the proper preparation of the driver to carry out his duties and highlighted the use of the magnet by the employee on his own initiative.

The carrier cannot release himself from liability by claiming that he did not know that his driver had installed a magnet disturbing the operation of the tachograph or that he had no influence on the driver’s behaviour,” concluded the Provincial Administrative Court in Poznań.

According to the court, the legal consequences should be borne by the driver and the entrepreneur himself – by way of an administrative penalty for improper supervision over the person employed by him. Financial administrative and criminal liability, such as that provided for in Art. 92 par. 1 of the Act, is, as a rule, of an objective nature and is based on the very fact of a breach of the provisions of law – stated the Provincial Administrative Court.

Carrier to take responsibility for his employees

The carrier shall, therefore, bear full administrative responsibility for the operations of the undertaking which carries out road transport operations and for the consequences of the actions of the persons employed by it.

How to be protected from this? In our opinion, it is in the hands of the entrepreneur to regulate internal actions that will eliminate such behaviours and to construct a contract that will provide for consequences for such offences. We should also not forget about the provisions of labour law, which concern the liability of employees for damage caused to entrepreneurs.

Photo: ITD

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