The most important issue with regard to road transport is safety. Legal provisions oblige drivers to comply with norms governing, among others, a working time, thus reducing the risk of dangerous road collisions and accidents. What is the penalty for non-compliance with these norms? Which devices are used to register drivers’ working time?

Polish and EU provisions

Drivers’ working time is regulated by both Polish and EU legal provisions. Enterprises engaged in transport of people and goods as well as drivers are obliged to comply with norms contained in the Act on Road Transport and Working Time of Drivers of 5 April 2013 as well as the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006.

Such norms apply to vehicles whose permissible weight exceeds 3.5 ton. Carriers and drivers are obliged to use devices (tachographs) measuring working and driving times, periods of rest, mileage and other important parameters. Non-compliance with these norms is subject to serious penalties for both the carrier and the driver.

Carrier’s liability

What is the liability for violating norms associated with drivers’ working time? Carriers may be penalized for, among others, infringement of provisions applicable to a driving time, mandatory breaks and rest (2000 PLN); infringement of provisions on the use of devices registering speed, driving time and periods of rest as well as drivers’ activity (2000 PLN); for the use of an unauthorized registration device (5000 PLN); for absence of a required drivers’ working time schedule (2000 PLN).

Exceeding a working time and a failure to keep records of a working time or provide a driver with the possibility to take a break may also be subject to penalties. According to a valid penalty tariff, a fine for exceeding a weekly working time by up to 2 hours amounts to 100 PLN; 300 PLN for exceeding a working time by 2-10 hours and 500 PLN for exceeding a weekly working time by more than 10 hours. For gross infringements, a transport company risks losing the license.

Valid penalty tariff – penalties for drivers

However, not only carriers face penalties – the tariff provides for penalties applying to drivers. A fine for exceeding a daily driving time by up to one hour and by each subsequent commenced hour amounts to 100 PLN. Drivers may be also subject to a 100 PLN fine for reducing a daily rest period by more than 15 minutes and up to one hour and by each subsequent commenced hour. A device used to measure drivers’ working time is a tachograph, i.e. specialized device registering a driver’s activity behind the wheel, driving time, working time, breaks and periods of rest.

According to a penalty tariff, failure to use a tachograph by a driver is subject to a fine of 2000 PLN similarly to an unauthorized interference with the work of a tachograph, which results in the change of device’s readings.