Brussels, 19 January 2006
Vice-President Jacques Barrot, in charge of Transport policy, has written to the Member States to explain and re-affirm the Commission’s position on the introduction of the digital tachograph. May 2006 must be the ultimate date for the mandatory introduction of such a tachograph. In his letter, Vice-President Barrot has asked the Member States to provide the Commission by 1 March 2006 with a detailed and complete overview of the preparations at national level, including a confirmation that they will be ready to put in place the necessary arrangements in due time.
Vice President Jacques Barrot said: “The digital tachograph is indispensable for enforcing driving times and rest periods of professional drivers. Its introduction will improve road safety and the social conditions of truck drivers in Europe. It is important to co-ordinate its introduction which must happen at the latest by May 2006”.
The introduction of the digital tachograph requires a clear and firm deadline in order to ensure that all concerned are fully prepared and that the transition from the analogue to the digital model proceeds smoothly. The Commission welcomed the firm intention of the European Parliament and the Council, at the occasion of the Conciliation Committee of 6 December 2005 (IP/05/1538), to undertake every effort to finalise the new EU Regulation, which would impose the mandatory introduction of the digital tachograph from early May 2006 onwards (namely twenty days following the publication of the legal text in the EU Official Journal, which would bring the introduction date to May 2006).
The Commission accepts this date as the ultimate introduction date which will allow the transport sector to organise a smooth transition. After this date Member States will be obliged to enforce the relevant provisions. In practice this will mean that new trucks registered after that date and which do not have an operating digital tachograph can be blocked at any time. Drivers who drive without a driver card risk prosecution.
The digital tachograph is widely available. New vehicles are being offered with standard fitting of the new equipment. The majority of the Member States have started to issue tachograph cards and transport operators have started to use vehicles equipped with the new tachograph in daily operations.
The Commission is concerned to hear that a number of Member States are behind schedule in establishing the national legislation and the administrative framework required for the compulsory introduction of the digital tachograph. A further delay is unacceptable given the long period of preparation that Member States have already enjoyed. It is a reason for serious concern because any further delay will severely affect the economies of the countries concerned. The Commission therefore urges those Member States to put maximum effort in putting in place the necessary arrangements in time.