The echoes of the recently passed Mobility Package, which introduces important changes for carriers, have not yet died down, and another revolution in transport is on the horizon. Apart from heavy transport, MEPs also dealt with the provisions regulating transport below 3.5 tonnes. The Parliament adopted amendments to Regulation 561/2006. What does this mean for owners of transport companies that carry goods using light commercial fleet?

The European Parliament decided to deal with Regulation 561/2006, which makes the provisions regarding driving time, taking rests and breaks, previously required only for transport using of GVW> 3.5 tonnes, apply to GVW > 2.4-tonne vehicles used in international transport. This is to be another step towards harmonizing the regulations of the road transport market. Works on the discussed changes have been going on for some time now and have been discussed, among others, during the meetings of The Confederation of Organizations in Road Transport Enforcement (CORTE), where the most attention was paid to the obligation to install tachographs in buses and vehicles over 2.4 tonnes, as well as to regulations referring to taking rest periods by drivers. Both the amendments to the EU regulation of January 10, 2019, already referred to in Regulation 165/2014, or the recent proposals for amendments to regulation 1072/2009 concerning the profession of carrier, were a signal of changes that are to lead to the situation of work time recorders being introduced in vehicles below 3.5 tonnes.

According to the changes accepted by the European Parliament, each vehicle of gross weight, including the trailer or semi-trailer, exceeding 2.4 tonnes and used in international freight transport, must have a digital tachograph installed. In addition, the driver will be required to have a personal driver card, on which all activities, such as driving time, other work, availability and stops, will be recorded.

The regulations regarding the obligation to install tachographs were formally passed. If the Council of the European Union adopts the Mobility Package – tachographs in buses will become a revolution in international road transport of so-called small vehicles. Regardless of this, Polish bus drivers should remember that in many European countries drivers’ working time rules are much more restrictive and strictly enforced, including, of course, those applying to vehicles under 3.5 tonnes. In France, for example, according to the recent update of the guidelines in the working time regulations – all drivers (including foreign ones) are required to record working time and rests in the Control Logbook (Livert individuel de contrôle), but this can also be another proof of working time. No such proof entails high penalties – from 90 to as high as 750 eurosOCRK expert, Łukasz Włoch comments.

The introduced requirements related to tachographs in vehicles below 3.5 t are aimed at solving the questionable issues of settling the work of bus drivers and should definitely contribute to increasing road safety. Bus drivers will be able to work according to uniform standards, which eliminate possible abuses, and this is expected to affect the labour market stimulation in the TFL sector.

The problem is serious, because it may apply to as many as 100,000 vehicles. The road safety issue is the primary concern here, but there is also a social dimension, i.e. staff and payroll aspect, because the lack of a recorder significantly hampers the calculation of hourly rates and settlement of rest periods – says Łukasz Włoch, OCRK.

Unfortunately, there is the other side of the coin as well. Some EU rules on the retention of documents are formulated quite harshly and can have a negative impact on the administrative part of the transport companies’ work. We have but to wait for the further developments.