Today the European Parliament rejected a proposal of the European Commission to harmonise penalties for infringements of EU legal acts for truck operators. While the Members of Parliament welcomed a consistent classification of infringements, which may lead to the loss of good repute by the road transport operator, they were not satisfied with the measures taken in order to put an end to social dumping in road transport.
In some member states operators that continuously violate rules relating to the transport of dangerous goods, training of drivers or driving and rest time regulations will quickly lose their right to operate within the Internal Market, whereas other member states tolerate such violations for much longer.
The proposed list of infringements had been under the scrutiny of the European Parliament. However, as the so called comitology procedure does not allow for amendments, Parliament decided to exercise its right of veto and called for an improved proposal to be presented in the near future. Commenting on the rejection of the proposal, Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England and member of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism committee, said:
“The Parliament supports the consistent categorisation of infringements, but it considered the list incomplete as it does not count several important items relating to the drivers’ working conditions as a safety risk. Yet, it is beyond doubt that drivers who are forced to spend several consecutive weeks or months, including their weekly rest, in the vehicle may not only compromise their own wellbeing, but potentially pose a risk to road safety. This is often the case when drivers perform cabotage and it is crucial that these illegal practices are taken into consideration.”
“With today’s veto, we took a stand against social dumping in road transport. If we want to ensure the protection of social and labour rights, road safety and that fair road transport operators are not disadvantaged, we need the same strict penalties for serious infringements across the whole of the EU. The Commission should take this warning seriously and come up with an amended proposal as soon as possible.”