New standards for European freight transport: The European Parliament has adopted Mobility Package I. It contains comprehensive improvements for HGV drivers and provides legal clarity throughout the European Union.
Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, had been lobbying especially for improvements in the working conditions for professional drivers, for more road safety and for a level playing field.
Federal Minister Scheuer:
With Mobility Package I, fairness, efficiency and safety in freight transport will increase throughout the EU! Three and a half years of tough negotiations are behind us. The outcome now benefits, above all, our HGV drivers who are doing a tough and excellent job in the corona crisis. For our HGV drivers this means, among other things, that they no longer have to spend their regular weekly rest periods in the cabin of their truck.
These are the most important changes introduced by Mobility Package I:
- In the future, there will be an explicit and absolute EU-wide ban on drivers spending their regular weekly rest period in their vehicle. This rule provides legal clarity.
- Weekly rest periods Drivers engaged in international transport operations may take two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods. This reduction must subsequently be compensated for accordingly.
- Operators are obliged to organize cross-border journeys in such a way that it is possible for drivers to return regularly at least every four weeks to the employer’s operational centre or their own place of residence.
- By 2025, at the latest, all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs, buses) must be equipped or retrofitted with a smart tachograph (so-called “version 2”). The objective is to ensure more efficient monitoring of and compliance with the driving times and rest periods prescribed by law.
- Cabotage provisions will also be reformed. The rule that three cabotage transport operations may be carried out within seven days continues to apply. A subsequent cooling-off period of four days, however, has been newly introduced. Only after this period of four days may more cabotage operations be carried out in the same Member State. In the future, these rules will also apply to light commercial vehicles of 2.5 t or more.
- Another feature newly introduced is the compulsory regular return of vehicles to their Member State of establishment every 8 weeks. This is to combat letterbox-type practices.
- Legal clarity has now also been established in the application of specific posting regimes for professional drivers. Here, specific rules for professional drivers have been created as part of Mobility Package I which, among others, apply to a minimum wage and minimum leave.
- In the future, the rules on access to the market as well as on driving times and rest periods and on the tachograph will be extended to include light commercial vehicles of 2.5 t or more.
On 1 July 2020, Germany assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) for six months.