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Goods: towards a safer and more competitive high-quality road transport system
This Communication aims to indicate the measures necessary to deploy a coherent, global policy so as to ensure the development of a safer and more competitive high-quality road transport system.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and Council of 21 June 2000 - Towards a safer and more competitive high-quality road transport system in the Community [COM (2000) 364 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
Professional road transport is having to face certain challenges, as a result of which the Commission has developed a global strategy for the sector. Strengthening the conditions of fair competition should minimise the impact of increasing competition due to the advent of the internal market. Moreover, ever-increasing safety requirements mean that measures must be taken to protect the safety of workers and road users. Finally, in order to deal with the social disquiet caused by the use of illegally employed drivers, working conditions must be improved, monitoring strengthened and the image of the profession raised. The measures proposed come under four objectives: 1) preparing legislation on the organisation of working time for drivers; 2) fair conditions of employment for drivers; 3) improving road transport monitoring; 4) improving professional training for drivers.
Organisation of working time for drivers
In November 1998 the Commission presented a proposal for a Directive concerning the organisation of working time for mobile workers performing road transport activities. The proposal is currently blocked in the Council, due to differences of opinion among the Member States over whether or not to include self-employed drivers within the scope of the Directive.
Conditions for the employment of drivers
The "social disquiet" mentioned above is due to the growing number of drivers, often from third countries, being employed under "non-Community" working conditions (low wages, virtually unlimited working time, poor welfare cover, etc.). This situation is leading to the distortion of competition, and safety problems. In order to deal with the matter, the Commission proposes to introduce a "driver's certification" as a means of controlling the regularity of conditions of drivers' employment. The certification will be issued by the Member State authorities. The Commission will soon be presenting a proposal for a Regulation to this effect.
Monitoring of road transport
The effectiveness of the measures to increase safety, competition and ensure fair working conditions depends on the existence of monitoring in the transport sector. The Commission is planning a communication on inspections and penalties in the sector, and aims to strengthen Directive 88/599/EEC by increasing the number of working days to be monitored by Member States. Certain other measures already exist, and the electronic tachograph will be obligatory from the end of 2002 under Regulation (EC) No 2135/98.
Driver training is currently regulated by Directive 76/914/EEC on training for some road transport drivers, and Directive 91/439/EEC on driving licences. The Commission will soon present a proposal for a Directive laying down common rules on training for all new professional drivers, taking account of the complexity of the profession.
The Commission will consider at a later stage whether it is necessary to amend the common rules on driving and rest times. The action being taken by the Commission in the road transport sector is currently focused on reinforcing cohesion in the industry. The Commission also proposes a global approach with a package of measures taking account of road safety, competition and the economic and social aspects of road transport.