For fiscal coordinator of Road Safety, Bartolomé Vargas manipulation of tachographs violates the rules of competition and the labor rights of drivers
The coordinating prosecutor of Road Safety, Bartolomé Vargas, has announced that the manipulation of tachographs in the transport of passengers and merchandise will become a criminal offense instead of an administrative one that will be punished with up to three years in prison for falsehood in a public document. In a press conference at the headquarters of the State Attorney General’s Office, Vargas said that since Monday the Traffic units of the Civil Guard, the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Ertzaintza and the Foral Police of Navarra they have the guidelines to investigate this crime following a ruling by the Supreme Court.
The High Court resolution, which gives the reason for a resource of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Road Safety, determines for the first time that the alteration of movement data in buses and trucks in order to avoid controls has to be punished as a falsification. Vargas has pointed out that the driver will not be solely responsible for the infraction but that the rest of the possible “necessary cooperators” will be prosecuted, such as executives or managers of the transport company, the contractor or the workshops. In the case of having a background in this type of practice, the crime will be continued, with penalties reaching three years and nine months in jail, while accidents with fatalities will respond to serious imprudence, punishable by up to nine years depending on the number of deaths.
“There are cases of chain induction because of the pressure that is projected on the driver so that he arrives as soon as possible to his destination,” said the prosecutor, who with this measure has said he wants to end the “tragic gains” that come with assuming risks such as lack of rest due to prolonged driving. For Vargas, who has been accompanied by members of the Civil Guard and Mossos Traffic, tachograph manipulation violates the rules of competition and the labor rights of drivers, placed against the wall due to economic precariousness and with conditions that endanger their physical integrity.
“The manipulation hides going faster, with fewer hours of rest to arrive before the others,” he warned before criticizing that drivers are forced to move in a state of sleepiness, about to fall asleep, as a result of fatigue at flyer that leads to drug use to stay alert. Vargas has stressed that adulterating these devices affects essential safety systems such as braking and stability that exposes vehicles to blockages, skidding or scissors, when the trailer turns in the opposite direction to that of the truck.
The prosecutor of Road Safety has still wanted to clarify that the falsification of these devices responds to “isolated behaviors” in the transport sector, of “quality, prestige and efficient”. EFE