Wednesday, 14 December 2016
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Haulage Industry Regulation
243. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the rationale for the introduction of a maximum weight limit for 5 axle rigid trucks; if his attention has been drawn to concerns within the transport industry regarding these changes (details supplied); if he will consult with industry representatives on the proposed changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40401/16]
Being generally not suited to international transport operations, five axle non-articulated trucks (rigids) are a relatively recent phenomenon on Irish roads. Across the EU there is no maximum weight 'norm' for such vehicles and a lacuna in Ireland's Construction and Use Regulations has meant that a maximum weight limit for such vehicles has hitherto remained unstipulated.
It is precisely to correct this regulatory anomaly that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the Road Safety Authority (RSA), were tasked with analysing the pavement wear effects of this 39 tonne variant, as well as the associated vehicle standard related requirements attaching to the operation of 5 axle rigids in Ireland.
The results of TII's commissioned study concluded that, because of their shorter wheel base they impacted negatively on both our bridge infrastructure and pavements. In circumstances, where in real terms, road maintenance funding has been severely cut over successive years, it was therefore recommended that the maximum regulatory weight limit for such vehicles should be set at 36 tonnes. The results of TII's study were presented to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry and other interested industry representative bodies.
A regulatory exemption, subject to certain technical requirements and manufacturer approval, will however apply to those rigids with five (or more) axles which are in service before 1 March 2017. Separately, the RSA is working with the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF) so that the registration details of the owners of 4 axle rigids who've had a fifth axle fitted under the existing arrangements, and who have not yet accurately updated their details on the NVDF, can do so by the 1 February 2017.