MEPs amend rules to fight illegal practices in road transport and improve working conditions for drivers.
On Thursday, Parliament approved its position to negotiate with the Council on revised rules for posting of drivers, drivers’ rest times and better enforcement of cabotage rules. They also want to put an end to distortion of competition by hauliers using letterbox companies.
Fairer competition and fighting illegal practices in international transport
To help detect when rules are being breached by road hauliers, Parliament wants to replace the existing restriction on the number of cabotage operations (i.e. transport operations in another EU country following a cross-border delivery), with a time limit (3 days) and introduce registration of border-crossings through vehicle tachographs.
There should also be “cooling-off period” for vehicles to be spent in the home-country (60 hours) before heading for another cabotage, to prevent “systematic cabotage” .
To fight use of letterbox companies, road haulage businesses would need to have substantial activities in the member state where they are registered. Since operators increasingly use light commercial vehicles to provide transport services, those operators would also need to follow EU norms for transport operators, MEPs say.
Clear rules on posting of drivers and less red tape for operators
EU-wide rules on posting of drivers will give a clear legal framework for applying posting of workers rules in the highly mobile transport sector, to prevent red tape caused by differing national approaches and ensure fair remuneration for drivers.
MEPs want the posting rules to apply to cabotage, and cross-border transport operations, excluding transit, bilateral operations and bilateral operations with one extra loading or unloading in each direction (or zero on the way out and two on return).
MEPs want digital technologies to be used to make drivers’ lives easier and reduce road-check times. They also want national authorities to focus on companies with poor compliance records, while cutting back on random checks on law-abiding operators.
Better working conditions for drivers
MEPs also proposed changes to help ensure better rest conditions for drivers. Companies will have to organise their timetables so that drivers are able to return home at regular intervals (at least every 4 weeks). The mandatory rest period at the end of the week should not be taken in the truck cab, MEPs add.
The EP position on rules on posting of drivers was approved with 317 votes in favour, 302 against, and 14 abstentions.
The position on rules on drivers rest periods was approved with 394 votes in favour, 236 against, and 5 abstentions.
The position on amending rules on access to the occupation of road transport operator and road haulage market, setting out rules on cabotage and tackling letterbox companies was approved with 371 votes in favour, 251 against, and 13 abstentions.