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Brussels, 13 December 2005

Working time in road transport: 10 Member States still late to implement the rules

The European Commission sent today a reasoned opinion – the last step before a formal complaint to the Court of Justice is lodged – to Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain for failure to transmit their national implementing measures on working time for the road transport sector. The rules on working time include time for driving, loading and unloading, vehicles maintenance and administrative tasks. The aim of this legislation is to improve and harmonize social conditions of road transport workers on the European transport market thus contributing to better health and safety of workers, fair competition and enhanced road safety.

“Whereas we have since last week an agreement on more socially advanced driving and rest times and stronger controls, I regret that member States still have not implemented rules on working time that date back to 2002”, said Vice-President Jacques Barrot in charge of transport.

The 2002 Directive on working time[1] is an important component of the social dimension of EU legislation on road transport, which has evolved together with the economic component aimed at liberalisation of services across the internal market. It is intended to ensure that professional drivers do not work excessively long hours and thus become a danger to themselves and other road users. It also seeks to counter unfair competition, where Member States might be tempted to give their national fleet an advantage by permitting longer working hours.

Member States had until 23 March 2005 to transpose the Directive into national legislation and to notify their national implementing measures to the Commission. Ten Member States, namely, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain failed to do so. So far, the Czech Republic has notified some but not all its measures, while no notification has been received from the other countries mentioned.

[1] Directive 2002/15/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 on the organisation of the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities, OJ L 80 of 23.3.2002

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