Tachograph: national practices will no longer be the norm

Marc BOUGAUT

Can a HGV driver be fined abroad for tampering with a tachograph that is not required or sanctioned in his own country?

Following publication in the EU’s Official Journal, the provisions governing tachograph manipulation will apply throughout the Union.

National practices will no longer be the norm

With regard to the tachograph, Regulation 561/2006 will require all EU Member States to comply with tachograph use requirements, even those that are not observed in the company’s own country.

Article 19-2 of Regulation 561/2006

Four new words in Article 19-2 of Regulation 561/2006 change the situation.

“Any Member State shall allow the competent authorities to impose a penalty on an undertaking and/or a driver for an infringement of this Regulation [561/2006] or of EU Regulation n°165/2014 detected on its territory and for which a penalty has not already been imposed, even if the infringement was committed on the territory of another Member State or a third country.”

Regulation 561/2006 concerns driving and rest times, and n°165/2014 relates to tachographs.

Closing the gap

Previously, it was possible and encouraged to penalize an infringement committed in another country… only for driving or rest periods. Faulty handling could only be sanctioned by the country of the company.

In a ruling of September 9, 2021, the Court of Justice had clarified that Member States were prohibited from sanctioning an infringement of EU Regulation no. 165/2014 committed on the territory of another Member State. This was not provided for in European legislation. The Court invited the European legislator to remedy this state of affairs. This has now been done with the introduction of specific provisions for passenger transport.

European regulation, not national practice.

Beware of national habits and infringements overlooked by local legislation: failure to record the country in which duty begins and ends, failure to record rest or activity periods, driving without a card… risk being punished abroad. And there’s no point in defending yourself by saying that in your own country it’s not an offence, or that no training course you’ve taken has mentioned it.

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