Sensors to target rogue hauliers


WEIGHING EQUIPMENT is to be built into the State’s main inter-urban motorways in a move to crack down on rogue hauliers who are damaging the State’s new roads and posing a significant safety risk.

The new “weigh-in-motion” equipment is part of a tranche of almost 150 new “intelligent transport systems” that will be buried in the ground and configured to send “real-time information” on speed and vehicle type through the GSM phone network to a central monitoring station.

The equipment augments a similar number of existing machines providing information on traffic numbers and types of vehicles, but for the first time the operators will be able to check routinely the weight of a vehicle as it passes on the road above the sensors.

The initiative is part of a drive against rogue hauliers, provision for which has been made in the Road Traffic Bill 2012 published earlier this year by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar.

The new legislation will for the first time provide one integrated system allowing items such as weight checks to be followed by checks of operators’ fleet and maintenance records, as well as the annual roadworthiness test. The risk-based approach will also see such checks followed by “premises inspections”, where checks will be carried out on tachographs and drivers’ hours.

Resources are to be targeted at operators of vehicles considered most likely to break the law, while those who are not in breach are monitored, but not delayed.

Operators, including members of the Garda Síochána, will be able to target specific lorries that are overladen without the drivers being aware they have been detected. They can then be picked out of traffic while compliance in other areas is checked.

While the NRA was reluctant to say how many of the new machines in the roads will be able to weigh vehicles, a spokesman confirmed that all of the State’s inter-urban motorways and some others will be fitted with such equipment. The spokesman said overladen lorries were a serious safety risk while also damaging the investment of recent years in the motorway network.

A spokesman for the Road Safety Authority said: “The new legislation provides that roadside enforcement activity, checks of operators’ fleet and maintenance records, as well as the annual roadworthiness test, will be linked in one integrated system for the first time.”

He also confirmed that information from the British authorities would contribute to the database.

In the past the UK’s Vehicle and Operator Services Agency has claimed Irish-registered lorries were found, on a percentage basis, to be the most frequent foreign violators of regulations relating to driver hours.