Social Legislation in Road Transport and Digital Tachographs
Publication date: 13 April 2005
Parliament adopted two recommendations (A6-0073/2005 and A6-0076/2005) for second reading by Helmuth MARKOV on social legislation in road transport (COM(2003) 628 - COD(2003) 255 and COM(2003) 490 - COD(2001) 241). The adoption of these reports could have serious impact on the road transport sector in the EU. The vote made clear that Parliament and Council disagree seriously on some key issues, such as daily rest periods for lorry drivers, the definition of regular rest periods, the introduction of a common spectrum of penalties and on road checks. It is generally expected that a conciliation procedure will now be set in motion
recommendation_final_markov.pdf (197 KB)
recommendation_final_markov2.pdf (223 KB)
The first report is on the harmonisation of certain social legislation. Key points were:
a) The introduction of the digital tachograph postponed
The introduction of the digital tachograph, scheduled by the European Commission for August 2005, has been postponed. Parliament took the view that all vehicles manufactured after 5 August 2006 should be fitted with this recording equipment. After August 2007, all vehicles put into service for the first time should be fitted with these digital instruments. The reason is purely technical: MEPs find it hard to believe that the current legislative procedure will be closed by August 2005. They also argued that these two starting dates were realistic, since trade and industry needed clear dates.
b) Towards a more flexible definition of minimum regulated breaks
Another key point is the introduction of a regular daily rest period for lorry drivers of at least 12 hours (where the Council had proposed 11 hours). Where the Council has proposed a detailed definition of minimum regulated breaks corresponding to a driving period, Parliament was in favour of a more flexible solution. The minimum regulated break may be replaced by breaks of at least 15 minutes distributed over the driving time or immediately after it. It should be ensured that a total of 45 minutes is taken during or immediately after the driving period of four and a half hours.
c) Definition of the driving time
Following the Transport Committee's suggestion, Parliament introduced a definition of driving time for lorry drivers. Driving time means "the duration of the activity in which a driver controls a vehicle and the time taken by the driver to make way to the place of assignment of the vehicle, if that journey is made in a vehicle driven by the driver and the distance thus travelled is more than 100 km". This addition would avert a situation in which, for example, a driver drives by car to a pickup point 600km away, taking over the driving of a waiting coach, and without taking sufficient breaks, drives the coach for another 600km on the return journey, thereby nominally observing the driving times and rest periods but in reality circumventing them.
d) A common spectrum of penaltiesP
arliament is also in favour of the introduction of a common spectrum of penalties in case of infringement of the regulation. These penalties should include temporary immobilisation of the vehicle concerned until such time as the cause of the infringement has been rectified. This would have a strong deterrent effect and would ensure a more uniform approach by the Member States.
The second report is on the enforcement of the legislation.
Key amendments here are on the gradual increase in the percentage of days checked which are more ambitious than the Council was proposing, on a strong co-ordinating enforcement body, on the reintroduction of a list of infringements that should be regarded as serious offences, on the harmonisation of penalties, on what has to be checked on the road as well as on insisting that the working time could also be checked on the premises.
Related News Items:
- Compulsory use of tachographs: MEPs call for postponement (15 March 2005)
- Installation of Digital Tachographs postponed (29 April 2004)
- Lorry Drivers' Working Hours in the Spotlight (20 April 2004)
- Draft Directive on Checking of Lorry Drivers' Working Hours (9 December 2003)
- Commission calls for better enforcement of road safety rules (22 October 2003)