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EU road transport needs a single enforcement model

Date

01 Apr 2009

Sections

Transport

European transport operators, enforcement bodies and regulators call for an end to the mosaic of national control practices undermining the efficiency of EU road transport.

Brussels - Over 100 industry delegates, road transport law enforcers and regulators underlined their commitment to improve the efficiency and quality of controls on trucks and buses in the EU, at a Joint Seminar on Enforcement of EU Road Transport Legislation, organised by the IRU and its UK member, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), entitled ‘‘From Current Realities to the Future of EU Road Transport Enforcement’’.

IRU General Delegate to the EU, Michael Nielsen, said, ‘’The EU today is endowed with a single legal framework for commercial road transport, but is still far from delivering a single enforcement space. What is needed is a harmonised interpretation of key legislation, backed up by a proportionate and sensibly aligned system of sanctions, in order to achieve an environment where drivers and companies benefit from common control practices.’’

Impractical, bureaucratic documentary requirements and severely disproportionate penalties awarded for minor infringements - neither of which improved road safety - were raised as concerns by international transport operators during discussions. Rather, transport operators expressed their willingness to engage with the enforcement authorities in a more constructive way, allowing for advice, information and, eventually, sanctions to be used with the view to improve regulatory compliance instead of merely penalising drivers or companies for each and every infringement detected.

IRU and FTA welcomed enforcement officers’ commitment to forge such constructive exchanges with the industry and called for the progressive spirit and methods used in some EU countries to be adopted more widely. EU authorities should also propose a more uniform enforcement model, by sharing information and linking up national systems to target checks on those operators with the worst compliance records.

FTA Chief Executive, Theo de Pencier, concluded, “This seminar has unveiled a wealth of knowledge, best practices and shared willingness to improve enforcement. Our initiatives should be used to shift the burden of enforcement away from the majority of law-abiding transport companies towards those who set out deliberately to break the rules, thereby damaging the reputation of the entire industry. We will carry on pooling this collective expertise to identify and, more importantly, to implement the best practices that we have identified. No matter how hard it may be, we need a balanced enforcement model using common sense, flexibility and discretion when applying the rules. ’’

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