ETF, CORTE, ECR, IRU and ROADPOL have issued a joint call for efficient enforcement in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March, when Europe went into lockdown, the road transport sector and its professional drivers have shown their key role for society and the economy. Taking goods and people there where they were most needed could not have been done without them. On the other hand, to facilitate cross-border and domestic flows and supplies, each and every member state adopted temporary derogations to the strict driving time limits imposed by EU rules. While drivers are not allowed to exceed 90 hours of driving per period of two weeks, in March, April and May, due to the exceptional circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Belgium increased this limit to 96 hours while France increased it to 102 hours.
With the arrival of June, the uniform EU driving time limits will apply again across Europe. However, road inspectors will have to check compliance with rules and derogations for the past months. This risks leading to a situation whereby drivers engaged in cross-border transport would face sanctions in some Member States while having fully complied with derogations temporarily adopted by other countries they had driven in.
In order to avoid a situation where drivers are sanctioned for having been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ETF, together with the transport operators and the enforcement agencies across the EU, appeal for sound judgement, tolerance and discretion in determining what infringements are reasonable to pursue, including those concerning rules governing driving and rest times, for the period from mid-March to the end of May 2020.
We also launch an appeal to the Member States to take into account, when inspecting drivers, the new EU temporary deadlines for the renewal or extension of certain certificates, licences and authorisations.
We remain fully committed to a strong enforcement pillar of EU rules in road transport hence our joint call for the deployment of smart enforcement practices, such as intelligence sharing between Member States, which should remain a priority, as the current exceptional circumstances increase the need for efficient enforcement.
You may download the joint statement at your right. Or here.