Owner Driver fined almost €2,000 for washing HGV during weekend rest
An Owner Driver has been left almost €2,000 out of pocket after police officers in Norway determined his weekend visits to a truck wash were a violation of drivers’ hour rules.
The fine was issued back in August 2021, but only recently came to light when the truck driver who received the penalty was interviewed by the Norwegian road transport website Tungt.no.
The driver says he is passionate about his profession, and that washing his vehicle is something he often does when he has time off on the weekends. However, the road transport inspector who checked his tachograph maintains that all maintenance on the truck, including washing, should be classed as other work.
The inspectors checked the trucker’s vehicle and tachograph after he had washed his vehicle on two weekends in August, one of which was to prepare the HGV for a truck fair. To do so, he needed to move the vehicle from the position it was parked up for the weekend. In the process of doing this, washing the truck and returning to his original spot, the driver’s card was not inside his tachograph, driving without a driver card.
The police determined this as a breach of the rules, and besides issuing a fine of 20,000 NOK (around €1,971), ordered the lorry driver to rest for 45 hours.
The officers justify their actions on the basis that the lorry had been moved a total of four times (twice every weekend) without the card being in the tachograph and without any other work being registered.
The trucker who was punished by the police nonetheless thinks the decision borders on madness and will only serve to put more people off the profession.
“I think it borders on madness that the authorities can suddenly decide to do something like this. We have been washing trucks on the weekends all year and the boys who join us order pizza and see this as a social gathering that coincides with them polishing their vehicles. It must therefore be lawful, if you ask me, especially since it takes place in a closed area. It has nothing to do with work as I see it. If you are thinking about recruiting for this profession, such a reaction from the authorities is the first step to say goodbye to Norwegian drivers,” the driver told Tungt.no.
The Owner driver contracted by Kaasa Transport is also unimpressed by the authorities and is willing to go to court to defend the driver. It says that had the driver told officers he was on his way home, he wouldn’t have been fined. Therefore, in the opinion of the haulage company, he was simply punished for his honesty.
The boss of the company told Tungt.no that officers should not be punishing drivers for “such nonsense” and added, “They obviously can’t understand what this profession is actually about”.
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s external control group were asked to comment on the matter. Their spokesperson told Tungt.no that “the regulations for driving and rest time are strict and that the inspectors today have little room for manoeuvre.”