A County Cork truck driver says he fears he and other drivers could be exposed to the Covid-19 coronavirus by Road Safety Authority inspections.
Midleton man Kieran Donovan (64), whose work entails driving throughout Munster and to Dublin, says inspectors are “moving in and out of lorry cabs arriving here from across Europe and Ireland and there seems to be no particular safety measures being taken. It’s very worrying.”
Mr Donovan says many drivers are in their mid to late fifties and beyond and are “particularly worried about the situation” because they are in the higher risk age bracket for the virus. He says a driver might get stopped twice a month by up to four or five officials conducting checkpoints.
“One will hop into the cab to see the driver card while others will check the back of the truck ad underneath” he says.
“But the problem is they will have done the same with dozens of lorries coming in from God knows where before that."
Mr O'Donovan, a co-founder and vice-chairman of the Phoenix Motorhome Club Ireland, believes drivers should “at the very least be given some reassurance or direction".
"Should we be allowing such close contact at all without extra precautions?” he asks.
There can be a lot of interaction between divers and inspectors, particularly if there is a fault with a lorry and paperwork is required. Is everyone washing their hands? We don’t know. There is no information being given.
He says he rang the RSA, explaining his concerns and seeking advice and guidance: “I was told someone would call me back later but that was a week ago and I’m still waiting."
The RSA website contains a link to the HSE guidelines on how to approach managing the threat in general but nothing specific for truck drivers.
Neither the RSA nor the Irish Road Hauliers Association (IRHA) responded to specific questions on the issues raised by Mr Donovan.
- The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999