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Tachograph Regulation: professional driver safety to improve under transport rules

Jim Higgins MEP, Irish member of the Transport Committee said

" MEPs have given their backing to a review of the Tachograph Regulation, which relates to road transport recording equipment and dates back to 1985.  The revision aims to combat fraud, enforce better working conditions for professional drivers and save European transport companies up to €515 million per year by reducing administrative burdens,"

"We are aware of the competitive pressure that exists in the transport sector and firms ignore driver safety rules in order to gain an edge over competitors, particularly by increasing driving hours of staff and saving money on personnel which can represent 30-50% of the total operating costs."

"With this latest proposal, the Parliament is seeking to support the transport industry by easing the burden on companies and clarifying tachograph laws. However, road safety is of paramount importance and transport companies and their drivers must obey the rules of the road", Mr Higgins concluded.

More efficient recording devices in trucks and adequate equipment for inspectors will help ensure stricter compliance with rules on driving and rest times for lorry drivers. The legislative resolution adopted by Parliament by a large majority on Tuesday, 3 July will make roads safer for everyone.

The regulation tabled by the Commission in July 2011 sets new technical standards for digital tachographs, which have been mandatory for heavy goods vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes since May 2006. It lays down detailed rules for their use, type approval, installation and inspection with a view to combating tampering which is too widespread, according to an assessment carried out for the Commission.

Wireless data transmission will, for example, enable the authorities to check (but not sanction) vehicles remotely, without having to stop them, and to concentrate more on vehicles with suspicious data which would then be checked thoroughly.

Trucks used within in a 100-km radius by drivers whose main activity is not driving heavy-goods vehicles should be exempt from using tachographs, says Parliament, keen to avoid unnecessary administrative costs for handicraft businesses. According to Parliament, the new tachograph should become mandatory for all trucks weighing over 2.8 tonnes.