04 Jul 2022

Transport company fined €1,500 for breaches of road safety legislation

€2,500 fine  for use of marked diesel at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court

Carrick-on-Shannon Courthouse

A County Roscommon transport company has been fined a total of €1,500 for breaches of road safety legislation in a case brought by the Road Safety Authority, at Carrick-on- Shannon District Court.

Luke Smith Transport Ltd, Gurteen Road, Boyle pleaded guilty to a charge that on August 30 last year, failed to produce record sheets, printouts and downloaded data at the request of an authorised control officer for the period from January 5 to January 12 last year.

The defendant company also pleaded guilty to identical charges for the period from January 14 to January 21, January 21 to January 26, January 28 to February 2, February 22 to February 27, and also March 1 to March 5.

It also pleaded guilty to a charge that on January 28 last year, it did fail to ensure the correct functioning and proper use of the tachograph and to an identical charge for March 6 last year.

A charge that the company did falsify, conceal, suppress or destroy data recorded on a record sheet or stored on a tachograph or on a driver car was struck out.

Roscommon State Solicitor Kieran Madigan outlined the details of the case before Judge Sandra Murphy.

RSA officer Caroline Jordan gave evidence of meeting Mr Smith on August 30 last year.

She added that a number of record sheets for kilometres travelled on the dates in question had not been furnished.

The court heard that a total of 595 miles had not been accounted for in the period in question.

The officer added that in addition there was a failure to ensure the proper use of the tachograph on the previously specified dates.

One record sheet had a driver in two different vehicles at the same time.

Defence solicitor Evan O’Dwyer said there were blocks for two weeks at a time for the same vehicle

He said it was not a case that there was no record at all but certain kilometres were missing.

The defendant was not being prosecuted, it was his company that was being prosecuted, the court heard.

Neither the defendant nor his company had been in court before.

Mr O’Dwyer said the first six summonses related to a 2002 vehicle and the defendant company had a manual system of recording.

Mr O’Dwyer said these summonses related to a period when Covid was at its height and records were not being kept.

It was a for a delivery of steel to Crumlin Hospital and the company was under pressure to deliver.

There had been a window just before this where records did not need to be kept and that had just expired.

The company had no previous convictions and the defendant was a sole trader and the part time driver, Mr Quirke, was not before the court.

It was a modest enterprise, and this been “a salutary lesson,” he said.

Mr Madigan said the grace period had been between March and July 2020.

He said he would be happy to consider that one of the initial six summonses would be taken into consideration but he asked for two formal convictions on the two charges of failing to ensure the correct use of a tachograph as these charges were “more serious”.

Judge Sandra Murphy fined the company €500 for the offence from January 5 to January 12 and imposed a fine of €500 on each of the two charges of failing to ensure the correct use of a tachograph on January 28 and March 6 last year.

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