Enforcement of road transport rules must be a top priority for the EU after elections

In light of the European elections, IRU and ETF - the EU social partners for Road Transport - call on the European Commission and Parliament to put enforcement at the top of the EU transport agenda for the next legislative term.

Enforcement is the mechanism by which authorities ensure that rules are being followed and applied. In mobile services like road transport, it can be difficult for inspectors to keep track of activity, but the digitalisation of enforcement will be a game changer. New technologies will make it easier to ensure a fair and efficient implementation of the European rules applicable to commercial road transport operators and drivers, which could offer a better functioning EU road transport and logistics market. Through digitalisation and the use of widely interoperable data platforms and risk-rating systems, enforcement could better target threats and risks and therefore become more efficient. 

Matthias Maedge, who is leading IRU’s activities in the EU, said: “Many EU laws and rules for road transport are undergoing important updates under the Mobility Package initiatives and enforcement must not lag behind. Electronic transport documents, including eCMR, or the European Register of Road Transport Undertakings are pivotal stepping stones towards modern enforcement but much more needs to be done. We need the commitment of the European institutions to make sure that innovative technologies are put to use for the benefit of a well-functioning and law-compliant commercial road transport market in the EU.”

In a joint statement, IRU and ETF urge the European Commission to prepare a specific Communication on enforcement in road transport for the European Parliament and the Council, in order to spur action at EU level. The social partners stand ready to work closely with the Commission on developing a plan for a coherent and comprehensive EU strategy on the enforcement of the EU commercial road transport rules in the digital age.

Roberto Parrillo, President of the ETF’s Road Section, said: “To safeguard drivers’ safety and working conditions, we need the rules to be enforced. A decade of austerity has led to a drastic drop in enforcement capacities all over Europe. This is a setback, but it also makes this the right moment to boost smart enforcement through advanced technological solutions. At the moment, drivers still travel around Europe with piles of paper in case they are stopped by one of the rare roadside inspections. Surely this approach is outdated and should be left in the previous century? We need to move towards digitalisation in law enforcement, to make work simpler, fairer and safer for drivers, companies and road inspectors alike.”