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Brussels, 4 December 2009

New road transport rules will lead to fairer competition and less red tape

New regulations modernising the rules governing road transport come into force today and are expected to generate administrative savings of €190 million a year. The so-called road package simplifies and clarifies the legal framework for the 900,000 European road transport undertakings engaged in the transport of goods or passengers.

Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of transport, today said: "This road package comes at a crucial time when the road transport industry needs clear and effective rules to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. The package balances the need for harmonised rules and free access to transport markets. .I firmly believe that these rules will bring about significant cost savings and provide a more equal playing field for all those involved in the industry."

The new regulations modernise, simplify and streamline rules in the road haulage and passenger transport sector governing entrance into the profession and access to the market in. The three regulations are based on proposals submitted by the Commission in 2007. They replace four regulations and two directives. The main changes include:

  • Harmonised rules on cabotage (the transport of goods (or passengers) between two points in the same country).In order to avoid empty trips every haulier will now be automatically entitled to carry out up to three cabotage operations within seven days after the unloading of any international transport, which can be proven with the freight document alone.

  • The electronic linking of national registers of road transport undertakings in order to facilitate information on committed infringements to be exchanged quickly and efficiently between Member States.

  • A list of the most serious infringements which, due to their gravity and their impact on road safety, could lead to a road transport operator loosing its right to work in the sector.

  • The requirement that undertakings should designate a transport manager who will be responsible for respecting road transport rules.

  • Stricter rules on the establishment of undertakings - to combat so-called "Letter box" companies which distort competition.

  • Streamlining the authorisation procedure for regular international passenger services

  • Allowing drivers of certain types of passenger transport to take the compulsory weekly rest period after 12 days instead of 6 in order to facilitate coach holidays.

The need for technical adaptations and accompanying measures at national level means that these new rules will apply in 24 months from date of publication/entry into force. The provisions on cabotage and 12 days derogation for the rest period for tour coach drivers will however apply within six months.

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