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Brian Sweeney

Towing a Light Trailer – Are you legal?

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When towing a trailer of any description with a car or light van, it is important for the driver to ensure that he/she is legally compliant.  There are a number of checks that need to be carried out prior to going on the road.  We’ve outlined these checks in the following blog.  Always remember, the speed limit for a car or van towing a trailer of any size is 80km/hr.

Trailer Categories
Light trailers that can be towed by cars or light vans are categorised in two groups.  O1 trailers are those with a maximum allowable mass (MAM), also known as the design gross vehicle weight (DGVW),  of no greater than 750Kg.  O2 trailers have a MAM above 750kg and not greater than 3,500kg.

O1 Trailer Example with a MAM of 750kg and an Unladen weight of 210Kg

O2 Trailer Example with a MAM of 3,500kg and an Unladen weight of 1,295Kg

Licence Categories
Firstly, drivers should ensure they have the correct licence (category) to tow a trailer with a car/light van.  Drivers with a car/light van B driving licence only are permitted to tow an O1 trailer with a maximum allowable mass (MAM) of not greater than 750kg.  B driving licence holders are also permitted to tow small O2 trailers.  If the MAM of the trailer is more than 750kg (O2 trailers), a B driving licence holder is permitted to tow this trailer if the combined maximum mass of the towing vehicle and the trailer is not greater than 3,500kg. Furthermore, the unladen (empty) weight of the towing vehicle must be equal to or greater than the MAM of the O2 trailer.

A driver with a category BE driving licence is permitted to tow a trailer up to a maximum mass of 3,500kg (O1 or O2 trailers).  The weight of the trailer that can be towed is restricted by the manufacturer of the towing vehicle but cannot exceed 3,500kg for drivers and vehicles in the EB licence category.

Weight Plates
Drivers must ensure they don’t overload the trailer. The MAM of a trailer can be found on a small aluminium plate usually located on the hitch or front panel of the trailer.  The MAM printed on this plate is the maximum allowable weight that the trailer is designed to support (including the weight of the trailer).  To work out what (pay) load you can carry on the trailer you must subtract the empty weight (Unladen) of the trailer from the MAM.

Trailer Plate Example (MAM 3,500kg)

Drivers must also ensure they are compliant with the towing capacity of the vehicle, referred to as the Gross Train Weight (GTW).  The GTW is printed on the vehicle weight plate, commonly located inside the front passenger or driver’s door of most cars and vans.  The Gross Train Weight (GTW) is the manufacturer’s maximum weight specification that the combined weight of a loaded vehicle towing a Loaded Trailer must not exceed.  This is also known as Gross Combination Weight (GCW).  More detailed towing and safety information can be found in the Drivers Manual located in the vehicle glove compartment.

Vehicle Plate Example (GTW 3,280Kg)

Van drivers should be aware that vans generally don’t have a high Gross Train Weight.  The reason being that the GTW is directly related to the empty (unladen) weight of the towing vehicle. To maximise their carrying capacity, vans generally have a Light unladen vehicle weight which means a low towing capacity. Vans are designed primarily for carrying and not for towing.

Braking and Lights
Braking systems are required to be fitted to O1 Trailers with MAM greater than half the MAM of the towing vehicle.  All O2 Trailers require a braking system.  It is important for a trailer braking system to include a Service Brake, a Parking Brake and a device capable of automatically stopping trailer if it becomes detached while in motion (i.e. breakaway cable or secondary coupling). More stringent requirements are required for certain trailers. Please consult your manufacturer or refer to the RSA website for more details.

As a minimum all trailers should display the following lights as part of their lighting system:

  • 2 red rear reflectors
  • Left & right directional indicators
  • 2 Red rear tail lights
  • 2 Red rear stop lamps
  • Number plate & number plate lighting

RSA Resources
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) provide some excellent learning resources for drivers wishing to find out more about towing trailers with a car or a light van.  Click on the following link to go to this RSA website of trailers.  http://www.rsa.ie/en/RSA/Your-Vehicle/About-your-Vehicle/Example-of-non-Dup/Trailers-/Advice-and-Checks-for-Trailers-/.

The RSA has also provided a series of 6 short you tube videos covering all aspects of towing a trailer. Click on the following link to go to these you tube videos. https://youtu.be/HhHyUMSn31s.  There is some important information on the coupling and uncoupling as well as safe loading and unloading of trailers that all drivers should be aware of.

Swilly Group provide pre-test and advanced driving tuition for drivers of vehicles towing trailers.  If you have any further questions or queries don’t hesitate to call into to the Swilly Group office on Business Park Road in Letterkenny, give us a call on 074-9151212 or email us on info@swillygroup.com.

Driving Opportunities at Swilly Grpoup

Driving Instructors in Dublin, Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal

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The Swilly Group has announced that they are accepting applications for the position of HGV Driving Instructor and Bus Driving Instructors to work in Donegal, Cavan/Monaghan and Dublin.

Established in 1975, the Swilly Group has grown to become one of the leading providers of training, recruitment and employment support services in Ireland.  The company serves industries such as Transport, Driving, Hospitality, Tourism, Care Services and Outdoor Activities.

Driving Opportunities at Swilly Grpoup

Brian Sweeney, MD of the Swilly Group

Managing Director Brian Sweeney, “It is a very exciting time at the company.”  “We have expanded our service portfolio and geographical footprint over the last 10 years to become the leading provider of Truck and Bus driver training services across Ireland.”  “We are now looking for a number of ambitious candidates in Donegal, Dublin and the Cavan/Monaghan area, experience drivers who are interested in developing a career in the driver training industry.”  Brian continued, “We are offering attractive employment packages and will provide the necessary Driving Instructor training to the successful candidates”.

Artic Truck and Coach Drivers with at least 3 years driving experience are invited to apply for the HGV Driving Instructor position.  All candidates must be eager to learn, confident, good with people and flexible.

To find out more about the current vacancies, contact Susan on (074) 9151212 or 1890 63 63 63, email susan@swillygroup.com or check out our website @ http://swillygroup.com/recruitment/.

Driver CPC Schedule 2017

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The Swilly Group has announced their schedule of Driver CPC courses for October, November and December 2017.  All six Driver CPC modules will be delivered between 7th October and the 9th December 2017.  This will give drivers who have fallen behind on their Driver CPC training days a chance to catch up in time for the Cycle 2 deadline next year.  The second Driver CPC cards will be issued in 2018 to many existing bus and dual drivers who have successfully completed cycle 2 of the Driver CPC periodic training programme.

Day

Date

Module

Saturday 07-Oct-17

1. Control of the Vehicle & Eco Driving

Wednesday 11-Oct-17

3. Health & Safety of the Professional Driver

Saturday 21-Oct-17

4. The Role of the Professional Driver in the transport Industry

Wednesday 01-Nov-17

6. The Professional Bus Driver

Thursday 02-Nov-17

1. Control of the Vehicle & Eco Driving

Friday 03-Nov-17

3. Health & Safety of the Professional Driver

Saturday 04-Nov-17

2. Minimising Risks & Managing Emergencies

Wednesday 15-Nov-17

4. The Role of the Professional Driver in the transport Industry

Saturday 25-Nov-17

6. The Professional Bus Driver

Wednesday 06-Dec-17

1. Control of the Vehicle & Eco Driving

Saturday 09-Dec-17

5. Role of the professional Truck Driver

As 2018 is the final year of cycle 2 for many existing drivers, it is important that Drivers check their Driver CPC training records to ensure their periodic training requirements have been met.  The easy-to-use RSA website called MYCPC allows drivers to view their Driver CPC records online.

If you have fallen behind on or missed any of your CPC training days, drivers should contact the RSA Driver CPC Unit (cpcunit@rsa.ie) to receive guidance on what they should do next.  If you were absent from driving for a period (e.g. employed in another industry) or out of the country for employment and missed training days, you may be required to catch up and complete a number of Driver CPC modules in the one year.  Therefore, it is important that you check your records on MYCPC sooner rather than later.

Remember, you don’t have to wait till September 2018 to complete your final DCPC training day(s)!

If you have any further questions or queries don’t hesitate to call into to the Swilly Group office on Business Park Road in Letterkenny, give us a call on 074-9151212 or email us on info@swillygroup.com.

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Driver CPC – End of Cycle 2

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We have now entered the final year of Cycle 2 of the Driver CPC for many bus and dual Licence holders.  The second Driver CPC cards will be issued in 2018 to many existing bus and dual drivers who have successfully completed cycle 2 of the Driver CPC periodic training programme.  Here’s a quick overview of the story so far.

The Driver CPC programme was first introduced in the EU Directive 2003/59/EC and later transposed into Irish law in 2008 as SI No 359 European Communities (Vehicle Drivers Certificate of Professional Competence) Regulations 2008.  This legislation made it a legal requirement for “new bus and truck drivers to complete and pass CPC theoretical and practical exams to gain their Driver CPC qualification.  If successful, a driver then applies to the RSA for a Driver CPC card which he/she must carry when driving.  As a CPC card holder, the driver is then required to participate in periodic Driver CPC training.   This involves attending Driver CPC training of 7 hrs (1 day) each year over a 5-year cycle, amounting to a total of 35 hrs over the 5-year period.  Dual Licence holders must attend 6 days over the 5-year cycle.

When the Driver CPC legislation came into force in 2008 (Buses & Dual) and 2009 (Trucks), “existing” licence holders were exempt from the Driver CPC exams and entered directly into the 5-year periodic training cycle of completing one Driver CPC training day per year.

The first Driver CPC five-year cycle ended in September 2013 for all “existing” Bus and Dual licence holders and 2014 for Truck Drivers.  Bus Drivers who had attended 5 days and dual licence holders who had completed 6 days of Driver CPC training were then issued with Driver CPC cards (valid for 5 years).  The periodic training continued and Cycle 2 began in 2013 (Bus and Dual) and 2014 (Truck).

The Driver CPC periodic training cycle 2 will come to a conclusion for Bus and Dual licence holders in September 2018.  The second round of Driver CPC cards will be issued to many Bus and Dual licence holders, provided they have completed their Driver CPC periodic training over the previous 5 years.  Cycle 2 will be complete for Truck Drivers in September 2019.

The September Cycle 2 deadline does not apply to new driver (obtained a Bus licence or Truck Licence and the Driver CPC card for the first time after September 2008 and 2009 respectively).  The expiry date of the Driver CPC card marks the end of the driver’s 5-year cycle. Five periodic training days (one day each year) must be completed before a new card can be applied for.

MY CPC

As 2018 is the final year of cycle 2 for many existing drivers, it is important that Drivers check their Driver CPC training records to ensure their periodic training requirements have been met.  The easy-to-use RSA website called MYCPC allows drivers to view their Driver CPC records online.

When a driver completes a periodic training day with an RSA approved training provider, the driver details are uploaded to the RSA MYCPC database.  When viewed through the RSA website, MYCPC shows which modules have been completed, the Module status and the tutor who provided the training.  Drivers can also print off a copy of your CPC training records.  Drivers can easily register for MYCPC on the RSA website (www.rsa.ie) with a driver number, email address and date of birth.

If you have fallen behind on or missed any of your CPC training days, drivers should contact the RSA Driver CPC Unit (cpcunit@rsa.ie) to receive guidance on what they should do next.  If you were absent from driving for a period (e.g. employed in another industry) or out of the country for employment and missed training days, you may be required to catch up and complete a number of Driver CPC modules in the one year.  Therefore it is important that you check your records or MYCPC sooner rather than later.

Remember, you have twelve months to complete your final DCPC training day in Cycle 2. You don’t have to wait till September 2018!

If you have any further questions or queries don’t hesitate to call into to the Swilly Group office on Business Park Road in Letterkenny, give us a call on 074-9151212 or email us on info@swillygroup.com.

Swilly Group Delivery Capability

Swilly Group Transport Managers’ CPC Course

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Swilly Group Delivery Capability

The Swilly Group is now accepting applications for the Certificate in Professional Competence (CPC) in Passenger Transport Management and Certificate in Professional Competence (CPC) in Freight Transport Management courses to run in October and November 2017.

A Certificate in Professional Competence (CPC) qualification is required by persons nominated as a Transport Manager in an application for a Road Haulage (Trucks) or Passenger Transport (Buses) Operator’s Licence.  This is an excellent qualification for drivers wishing to progress their career into a management position in a passenger or freight transport company.

The course dates are as follows:

  • Monday 9th to Friday 13th October 2017
  • Monday 16th to Friday 20th October 2017
  • Wednesday 25th & Thursday 26th October 2017
  • Wednesday 8th & Thursday 9th November 2017

The Transport Managers CPC exam will take place on Friday 24th November 2017.

Past exam papers and mock exams will be provided as part of the course material.

For more information on this course of to reserve a place, contact Susan on (074) 9151212 or email info@swillygroup.com.

Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

Back to School Safe Driving Tips

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It’s that time of year again when we return to our regular routine of chaos involving school runs, football training, dancing classes and swimming lessons to name but a few.  As the back to school rush begins, traffic volumes are known to increase significantly from late August into the start of September.  Therefore, it is important that we as drivers be extra cautious around the schools and on the roads to ensure the safety of everyone.  Here are a few back to school safe driving tips that will help you achieve this.

Know and Follow your School Traffic Systems: If you’re dropping off children at schools, familiarise yourself with the system in operation at the school.  Many schools have traffic management procedures in place to allow for a safe and efficient drop off system to operate.  It is important for the safety of the children that you follow these procedures.

Allow yourself plenty of time:  As the traffic volumes increase significantly when the schools return, you will need extra time to get to work or to school.  New parents dropping their children off at school for the first time will be dealing with the emotional trauma that this involves.  Therefore, they might take a little longer at the school.  Be patient and allow extra time for delays.  We were all first timers too!

Have Patience and show Courtesy:  When you are driving to work or to school, have patience with other drivers.  You just never know what sort of day the other driver is having or what challenges they are having to deal with in life.  Therefore, if we have patience and show courtesy to other drivers, it may cheer that person up.  Everyone appreciates an act of kindness!

Park Safely:  Unsafe or double parking at schools, or indeed in any busy location, can cause major disruption and delays to traffic as well as introduce major safety risks for children and parents.  Therefore, always park in a safe location, even if it involves walking a little further with your child to the school.  We all need the exercise!

Drive Carefully around Buses:  Drivers should always show extreme caution around school buses.  Children are very unpredictable and may jump off a bus and run across a road without realising the danger.  Remember many children are buzzing with the excitement of starting a new school year and seeing their friends again after the summer break.

If you have any further questions or queries don’t hesitate to call into to the Swilly Group office on Business Park Road in Letterkenny, give us a call on 074-9151212 or email us on info@swillygroup.com.

Driving Safely on Roundabouts

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A learner driver once asked his driving instructor to explain the roundabout lane rules to him.  His instructor said “It’s very simple.  “Think of the roundabout as a clock”.  “If you’re exiting before 12 o’clock, take up a position in the left lane”. “After 12 o’clock, take up a position in the right lane”.  The learner appeared confused and though to himself for a few seconds before saying “So in the morning, I take the left lane and in the afternoon, I take the right lane??”.

Motorist sometimes interpret the rules of the road in very different ways.  However, to drive safely on the road as motorists we need to firstly interpret the rules correctly and secondly be conscious of the fact that other motorist may have a different understanding of the rules.  Roundabouts are a traffic control that generates much discussion and debate among Irish Motorists.

In a recent publication by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) “Roundabouts, Using the Correct Lane”, the ‘golden rule’ is outlined to help motorists drive safely at any roundabout regardless of the number of exits.  The RSA state that motorist should think of the roundabout as a clock:

  • If taking any exit from the 6 o’clock to the 12 o’clock position, motorists should generally approach in the left-hand lane.
  • If taking any exit between the 12 o’clock to the 6 o’clock positions, motorists should generally approach in the right-hand lane.


If there are road markings showing you what lane you should be in, follow those directions. Traffic conditions might sometimes mean you have to take a different approach but, in the main, the ‘golden rule’ will help you to drive safely on almost any roundabout.

Motorists must be very observant and ensure they read the signs and observe the road markings on their approach to a roundabout (particularly if you are driving in an unfamiliar area). Local Authorities and the NRA have been using lane arrows and road signs to direct traffic into particular lanes and manage traffic at roundabouts.  For example, a very common change is to direct motorists travelling straight on (12 o’clock) to take up position in the right-hand lane.  This leaves the left lane exclusively for motorist turning left.  This allows traffic to flow more freely at roundabouts where the majority of motorists are leaving at the first two exits.

As motorists, we use our indicators to “indicate an intention” to make a manoeuvre to the left or right.  Therefore, it is important to use indicators approaching and when on roundabouts at the right time to inform other motorists of our intentions.  Remember an indicator does not give you the Right of Way.

The RSA leaflet “Roundabouts, Using the Correct Lane” outlines the following guidelines:

  • Making a left turn (First Exit), indicate ‘left’ as you approach and continue to indicate until you have taken the left exit.
  • Making a left turn (second exit), indicate ‘left’ once you’ve passed the first exit and continue to indicate until you have taken the second exit.
  • Going Straight ahead (12 o’clock), do not indicate ‘left’ until you have passed the exit before the one you intend to take.
  • Making a Right Turn (exit after 12 o’clock), approach in the righthand lane (unless road markings say otherwise), indicate ‘right ‘on your approach to the roundabout and leave your right indicator on as you drive around the roundabout until you have passed the exit before the one you intend to take. Then change to the ‘left’ turn indicator.

If you have any further questions or queries don’t hesitate to call into to the Swilly Group office on Business Park Road in Letterkenny, give us a call on 074-9151212 or email us on info@swillygroup.com.

Swilly Group announces new Driving School Manager

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Swilly Group this week announced the appointment of Martin Coyle as Driving School Manager.  Martin has taken responsibility for the running of the driving school in Letterkenny and throughout Donegal.

Swilly Group was established in 1975 by Noel Sweeney as a small driving school with one car.  Under the guidance of the Sweeney family, the business has grown to become one of the largest providers of training services in Ireland over the last 10 years employing over 30 people.  The company is a leading provider of job seeking support and training programmes throughout Ireland.

Swilly Group MD Brian Sweeney welcomes Martin Coyle

Martin Coyle comes from a haulage background having worked in the family haulage company from a very young age.  Martin has a BA in Business Studies with Accounting since 2002 and has also qualified as a Transport Manager in Road Haulage and Passenger Transport since 2012.  Martin worked with Bus Éireann for 9 years acting as Inspector in the Stranorlar office before his departure.  He completed his Driving Instructor trained with Swilly Group and qualified as an RSA approved Driving Instructor in all vehicle classes in 2011.

Brian Sweeney, Managing Director of the Swilly Group said, “We are delighted to welcome Martin onto the team at Swilly Group”.  “Martin has both the qualifications and management experience for the job and will be able to hit the ground running”.  “There was a lot of interest in the job and we interviewed some excellent candidates”.  “Martin demonstrated that he was the best person for the job and we wish him all the best in this new and challenging role”.

If you require additional information about any of the services at Swilly Group, feel free to contact us by telephone (074) 9151212, email info@swillygroup.com or check out our website at www.swillygroup.com.

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Swilly Group Gift Vouchers

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picture of swilly group gift voucher

Swilly Group Gift Vouchers are always on sale from the Swilly Group office on Business Park Road, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.  They are the perfect gift for a special person in your life. There is great value on all our offers below.

The Swilly Group Gift Vouchers are the ideal present for any person learning to drive.  We have a number of options available in the Car.

Car Driving Lessons (1 hr ) €  35.00
Car Driving Lessons (3 hrs) €  99.00
Car Driving Lessons (5 hrs) €165.00
EDT Special Offer     (12 hrs) €395.00

Surprise that special person in your life with a Gift Voucher for a lesson in a Minibus, Rigid TruckCoach or Articulated Truck.  Gift Vouchers are available for the following options:

Minibus                  (2 hrs) €110.00
Rigid Truck            (2 hrs) €130.00
Bus/Coach             (2 hrs) €140.00
Articulated Truck (2 hrs) €140.00

Pre-Test Driving deals are also available to buy as Gift Vouchers.  They include 8 hours of Tuition and the hire of the Swilly Group vehicle for the driving test.

Minibus €550.00
Rigid Truck €600.00
Bus/Coach €600.00
Articulated Truck €650.00

Gift Vouchers can be collected at our office in Letterkenny, Dublin, posted (to locations throughout Ireland) or delivered locally.  For more details telephone the Swilly Group office on (074) 91 51212 or email susan@swillygroup.com.

Career Opportunities at Swilly Group

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Bus and Truck Driving Instructors.

Swilly Group is currently seeking applications from experienced Bus and Truck drivers to join our team of driving instructors. The successful candidates will have a full clean bus or truck licence and a minimum of 3 years driving experience. Training qualifications and experience would be an advantage but not essential.

Driving Instructor training will be provided.

transport, tourism, road trip and people concept - happy bus driver face with microphone

If interested, submit your CV and a short cover letter through the Careers page (http://swillygroup.com/careers/) on  the Swilly Group website.  Please forward CV to susan@swillygroup.com or reply in writing to the Susan Wasson at the Swilly Group, Business Park Rd, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Transport Trainers

The Swilly Group is currently seeking trainers to deliver transport relating training courses throughout the Republic of Ireland. We would be interested in hearing from you if you have experience or qualifications that would allow you to deliver training in any of the following areas:

  • Driver CPC
  • Transport Management
  • ADR Driver Training (Haz Chem)
  • Analogue and Digital Tachographs
  • Health and Safety in the Transport Industry

The successful candidates will have at least 3 years experience in either the Freight or Passenger transport industries. Training qualifications and experience would be an advantage but not essential.

stephen-sweeney-swilly-group

If interested, submit your CV and a short cover letter through the Careers page (http://swillygroup.com/careers/) on  the Swilly Group website.  Alternatively, Please forward CV to susan@swillygroup.com or reply in writing to the Susan Wasson at the Swilly Group, Business Park Rd, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

 

Swilly Group is an equal opportunities employer