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The Council of Europe has agreed new rules covering the employment of truck drivers in a bid to make the job more attractive.
The council voted yesterday to approve EC proposals to reform the road transport sector. They include:
“Today’s agreement is about providing fairer rules for drivers and transport companies, and greater efficiency for national control authorities,” said Norbert Hofer, minister for transport, innovation and technology, for Austria.
“Professional drivers will benefit from better working conditions and companies operating across different member states gain from greater legal certainty and less red tape.”
Crucially for European road haulage firms, the council agreed a proposal that every truck carrying goods across Europe’s internal borders must be fitted with a smart tacograph by the end of 2024, which would register when a truck crossed a border and would “localise loading and unloading activities”.
Transport operators will, however, face further cost increases from new rules on drivers’ working conditions, with the stipulations that drivers will no longer be allowed to sleep in cabs and will instead have to use hotels, and that firms must organise work schedules so drivers can return home at least once a month.
And, although the EC has decided not to further liberalise Europe’s cabotage regime – which restricts operators from one country moving domestic cargo within another country to a maximum of three shipments within seven days – it has agreed an amendment of posting rules to include cabotage operations.
“The general rule would be that if an operation is organised in such a way that the link between the driver’s work and the country of establishment remains intact, the driver should be excluded from posting rules.
“This means that bilateral transport operations are explicitly excluded. On the way to the destination country, and on the way back, one additional activity of loading/unloading is permitted in each direction without falling under the posting regime, or none on the way out and up to two on the way back.
“Transit is also excluded. For all other types of operations, including cabotage, the full posting regime would apply from the first day of the operation,” the council said in a statement.
The proposals now go to the European Parliament for agreement on the final text.