The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has provided updates for professional drivers on their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) obligations and offers advice on sharing the road with school children.
Important notes: Professional Drivers & Employers regarding CPC Training Requirement
Earlier this year there was an extension put in place for drivers who had a Driver CPC card due to expire between 1 February and 31 August 2020 only, and for no other drivers; however, given the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19, professional drivers who hold a valid Driver CPC card with a future expiry date will not be penalised if they do not complete their annual training by the 9 September 2020. (The majority of drivers in this situation will have a CPC card with an expiry date of 9 Sept 2023 (bus) or 9 Sept 2024 (truck).
Please note that where a driver who qualified for the 1 February-31 August extension, did not complete their outstanding training within the seven months grace period, they no longer have an entitlement to Driver CPC. For example, if a CPC card expired on the 5 February 2020, the grace period for completing outstanding DCPC training ended on the 5th September 2020.
Safety of Pedestrians & Cyclist
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are advising drivers to take extra care when using the roads now that national and secondary schools have reopened, following prolonged closure due to COVID-19.
There is a significant increase in school-going traffic and drivers will have noticed a rise in the number of children using ‘active modes’ of transport such as cycling or walking to get to school. Drivers need to slow down and allow at least 1m overtaking distance when passing cyclists in speed zones up to 50km/h and at least 1.5m when passing in speed zones above 50km/h.
There is an increase in the number of school buses on the road too and drivers need to slow down, and stop if necessary, when buses are pulling in to pick up or drop children off. Drivers need to slow down in the vicinity of schools and obey the instructions of school wardens, who they may not be used to seeing on the road.
Now that the schools have reopened it is vitally important that we look out for our children on the roads. As we are encouraging children to walk or cycle to school where possible, an increase in young cyclists and pedestrians on the roads is to be expected this year. Drivers need to adjust driving behaviour accordingly.
Referring to the reopening of schools, Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority said: “The roads are busier now as children have returned to school so we want to remind road users to be extra vigilant and on guard to any potential hazards. We all must play our part in getting children back to school safely in what is a changed landscape during Covid-19. With that in mind, we anticipate an increase in children walking or cycling to school this year and expect to see more innovative schemes introduced like the Galway Cycle Bus taking to the roads. Parents who have children walking or cycling to school should ensure they practice safe walking and cycling habits by wearing a high-visibility vest and a properly fitted safety helmet. Their bikes should be equipped with a bell, lights and reflectors. I would encourage drivers and parents alike to visit the RSA website where we have plenty of resources to help get our children back to school safely.”
“We remind all parents dropping children off at school to do it safely, please park safely, do not double park, do not park in cycle lanes and do not allow children to alight from a vehicle while in traffic. It is important that areas around schools are safe for all children.”
For the tenth year running, the RSA will distribute free high visibility vests to every child starting school in September. To date, this campaign has provided 990,000 children throughout the country with high visibility vests and this year they will distribute another 110,000 vests.