Borderline Coach Hire Ltd of Lisnaskea in Northern Ireland, have both escaped a fine after one of the firm’s drivers was found to have driven for 12 days in a row, the Fermanagh Herald reported.
Noel McDonagh breached regulations which require that drivers must not drive more than six days in a row, though it was found that he had only driven for 32 hours across the 12 days, significantly less than the 56 hour limit for one week.
He pleaded guilty to failing to take a weekly rest day at Enniskillen Magistrates Court, with Borderline Coach Hire in turn pleading guilty to having an employee who had contravened the rules around weekly rests for drivers, along with a charge of failing to make regular checks to ensure compliance with the rules.
Noel McDonagh was stopped on March 9 and checks were carried out on his driving documents and the vehicle’s tachograph. The checks revealed a potential daily rest offence, and it later transpired that he had made an incorrect entry on the tachograph. When the error was corrected, it showed he had driven 12 days in a row from February 20 to March 3. Noel said that he only drove a few hours at a time and had not realised he had broken any rules.
The court was told that Noel would have remained within the statutory limit of six days, but had taken a booking without the operator’s knowledge. Once the issue came to light, it ‘was too late to cancel the booking without letting customers down.’
Director Owen Mohan said that while he understood the importance of the regulations for long-distance drivers, his drivers ‘could be driving for just a couple of hours a day doing a school run.’ He said that the company had since implemented changes and given staff additional training.
Both Noel McDonagh and the operator were given a conditional discharge and will not face a conviction if there is no reoffending in the next 12 months.