ERRU in practice – case of France

In our article published on the Truck Mobility Info “ERRU: Enforcement of road transport rules in the EU” we have already explained in details the role and main functionalities of the European Register of Road Transport Undertakings (ERRU).

As a reminder ERRU has the following three main functionalities, that can be used by enforcement authorities from EU Member States in order to exchange information on transport undertakings: Check Community Licence(CCL), Check Good Repute Functionality (CGR) and Infringement Notification Functionality (INF).

In 2023 the European Commission has adopted a new Implementing Regulation 2023/2381 on the interconnection requirement for the national electronic registers. The new ERRU takes into account the latest detailed list of serious infringements established in Regulation EU 2022/694 and the risk rating methodology that was adopted under Regulation (EU) 2022/695.

Interconnection between ERRU and IMI

The recently published report by European Labour Authority (ELA) on “Cooperation obligations and practices in the enforcement of EU rules on International Road Transport in the EU” provides information about the relation between IMI system and ERRU as well as on the exchange of information between MSs.

According to ELA report The IMI module is linked technically to the European Register of Road Transport Undertakings (ERRU), which assures the interconnection between the national electronic registers on transport operators within the EEA. Member States have to ensure that the relevant data in their national registers are directly accessible by enforcement agencies from other Member States (…).  Whereas the operation of ERRU is based on interconnected national registers maintained by the Member States, the exchange of information between Member States through ERRU occurs through a central hub system managed by the European Commission. This system centralises the data traffic by collecting the messages sent by the Member States and then forwarding them to the receiving Member States”.

ERRU in practice - example from France

In 2022 ELA has run a questionnaire among MSs in order to gather their experience with the use of ERRU. However, the information obtained was rather limited and fragmented- some country replies mentioned having no or very limited experience with the use of the three main functionalities of ERRU. France was among those countries, that shared their experience.

  1. The GRECO system

In France, the national electronic register is accessible through the web application ‘GRECO’ (Gestion régionalisée des entreprises de transport routier et des contrôles), that existed already before ERRU became operational on 1 January 2013.

The GRECO application is organised around two main modules, ACCES and CONTRÔLE :

  • The ACCES module is used by regional registry managers. This module allows for the daily management of the general data on transport entities (company, association, individual, non- resident company), the procedures for access to the profession (keeping of registers, issuance of registration certificates, conditions of good repute, and financial and professional capacity), the management of transport permits and the issue of licences, certified copies and authorisations.
  • The CONTROLE module is used by land transport inspectors. This module allows the entry of general data relating to roadside checks and company checks, the printing of documents necessary for the monitoring of criminal proceedings, the monitoring of fixed fines, the processing of notices to the public prosecutor and the monitoring of the offending behaviour of companies.

GRECO is also connected to the central hub of ERRU and allows for an exchange of information and communication with other Member States via the central hub.

  1. A typical French roadside inspection

Roadside checks in France are always conducted by at least the police and by the land transport inspectors. In addition, the Labour Inspectorate (in the event of suspicion of illegal employment); the URSSAF (the body responsible for collecting social security contributions) and customs officers (in the event of an inspection of transport of goods) may also take part in roadside checks.

Roadside checks of trucks and buses in France follow the following procedure :

  • The control starts with interception of the vehicle by the police. First, the transport inspectors check:
    • the driver’s attestation/licence ;
    • the vehicle’s tachograph (the tool used is the Tachoscan).
  • Second, the vehicle’s documents are checked.
  • Third, a technical inspection of the vehicle is carried out: securing the goods, checking whether the tyres are sufficiently inflated, etc.
  • Occasionally, inspectors may also check the company register if there is a doubt about the good repute and financial standing of the company being checked.

If the inspectors detect a possible violation or irregularity during a roadside check, they first verify, after accessing GRECO, if the infringement corresponds to the ERRU operational rules (ERRU repository on serious infringements is a closed list and other minor or different types of infringements may exist only under French law). Controlling authorities can report to ERRU only if a conviction or sanction is irrevocable.

As a result, there are three possible scenarios when an infringement is detected in France during a roadside check :

  • Immediate fine (inspector detects an infringement, that falls under ERRU; inspector imposes a flat rate fine on the spot; appeal is not possible; the fine is paid immediately on the spot by driver or company; notification to ERRU);
  • Further administrative or judicial proceedings in France (no immediate penalty during check is imposed; inspector creates an inspection report; ERRU notification delayed until final ruling or judgement);
  • French national infringement (informal notification of competent inspector in other MS- this is common in FR -ES and FR – BE cooperation; no ERRU notification).
  1. Procedures applied towards operators established in France

There is no standardized procedure on how Member States operate in case an infringement is notified to them by ERRU. However, according to ELA, sanctions imposed abroad are not automatically enforced, but the transport operator is checked at its premises and a (new) assessment is carried out, which may lead to a confirmation and review of the sanction imposed and/or to additional sanctions.

When a notification of an infringement and/or sanction is received from another Member State through ERRU, the following procedure is followed by the French inspection services, with regards to operators established in France, before any sanction is imposed:

  • The notification of the sanction is forwarded to the land transport control officer responsible for the area where the company is established. The officer assesses the nature and seriousness of the infringement notified, the company’s history and the relevance of carrying out an inspection at the premises of the company.
  • The company is inspected at its business premises and a report is drawn up. In addition, the inspectors may refer the matter to the Administrative Sanctions Committee if they consider that the sanction may be insufficient in the light of the infringements detected. The Administrative Sanctions Committee generally imposes economic sanctions, including the immobilisation of vehicles. Otherwise, only the original sanction imposed by the other Member State is enforced.
  • Once the sanction is imposed in France, it is systematically notified via ERRU to the Member States that had established the infringement in the first place.

When the final sanction is validated and notified, this information is registered in GRECO, which automatically integrates it into the national risk rating system. It seems, that many national systems have not been yet fully aligned with the new formula adopted with the implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/694 and that the functionalities for access to the risk assessment data of transport undertakings in the national registers for roadside checks have still to be implemented.

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