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IRU calls Members of the European Parliament for caution

13 Jun 2018 Brussels

IRU Brussels has been reaching out to all Members of the European Parliament ahead of the vote on the Mobility Package 1 on June 12:

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

The vote in the EP TRAN Committee on 4 June is an important milestone for the European road transport industry. A solid mandate to start negotiations is crucial.

IRU, the road transport organisation, calls for rules that ensure safe and efficient logistics operations and passenger services. Driving and rest time rules must therefore be kept absolutely separate from market and other social questions. The proposed text is a strong signal to the Council that a solution at EU level must be prioritised over individual actions currently taken by EU Member States. The debate must concentrate on practical and enforceable rules, and the proposed mandate is a good starting point for trilogue negotiations.

Scare tactics and abusing road safety arguments do not improve the situation for drivers, they make it worse. Hundreds of thousands of drivers’ jobs are currently unfilled. IRU is determined to improve drivers’ conditions to ensure we fix this critical shortage for the industry and for the European economy.

With 250-300 million annual vehicle operations in the EU, less flexibility on driving time would actually prevent drivers active in transit, cross-border and international transport between Member States from returning to their families.

Here is an example: An Italian haulier is transporting Italian wine and parmesan cheese to Sofia, Bucharest or Copenhagen. In order to return to the home base country, a round trip may take around 3 weeks. Less flexibility would mean that drivers would be forced to rest outside their vehicle, although there is not enough safe and secure parking and rest places now and for the foreseeable future. So where to go and what to do with the truck to enforce the regular rest outside of the vehicle? The result would be more stress and worse working conditions for the drivers. A real 4 week reference period including 3 weeks of activity is the only solution enforceable and practical ensuring one week or proper rest would be taken before the end of the fourth week. We thereby ask the negotiators to reconsider this option.  

IRU reiterates its main positions on the driving and rest time rules:

  • - Road safety: the earlier introduction of the smart tachograph, the use of e-CMR, and better cooperation and exchange of information among Member States will improve road safety and enforceability of rules.
  • - Work-life balance for drivers: TRAN compromises are improving drivers well-being and work-life balance by introducing a possibility for drivers to return back home. The proposal of exceptionally extending the driving time by two hours helps drivers and operators to return at the end of the working week. This proposal shows a strong signal towards the creation of more safe and secure parking areas across Europe.
  • - Recognising coach sector specificities: the proposal offers a much better scenario for the coach tourism sector, recognising its needs. This will contribute to keep Europe the leading global tourist destination, whilst contributing to road safety.
  • - Automation: We have to look into the future and be mindful of the fact that automation will revolutionise the future of mobility and driving and rest time rules will have to be adapted to innovation.  

IRU calls upon all MEPs to support the TRAN mandate obtained on Monday 4 June to start negotiations on workable and fair solutions in the road transport industry, any further loss of time will make things on European roads and working conditions for drivers even worse.