Roadworthiness for HGVs
The Nordic Logistics Association welcomes actions for safer roads, better environmental performance of vehicles, a wider cooperation between Member States and steps toward a level playing field for transport operators in Europe.
However we are not convinced that the proposals as presented will improve road safety and a level playing field. Rather they will create legal uncertainty and further uncertainty in an area that is already characterised by lack of harmonisation.
Today there is a problem in Europe with different implementations of the current directive for roadside inspections and periodic road worthiness tests. These differences may result in a distortion of competition. Without harmonization of the different testing methods in the member states, transport operators in different states will be required to have different levels of roadworthiness, technical information and equipment. Hauliers in Member States with elaborate controlling systems will be subject to frequent and thorough controls, while hauliers in member states applying less elaborate systems, will face less burdens and costs. Differences in methods of controlling, calculating and assessing the results may result in a vehicle being approved in one member state, but failing a test later in another member state. These differences are administrative rather than related to safety.
We are therefore opposed to the proposed risk-rating-system in its present form., Stricter regimes of controlling will find more flaws, and the hauliers which operate under these regimes will end up with a higher risk rating than those who operate under regimes with less strict control, but who may have more faults.
There is therefore a strong need for harmonization of the control methods before the proposal goes any further, but the proposal does not address this issue. The proposal assumes that a harmonised approach exists today. It does not. The Commission must first develop such harmonised methods before we can accept the proposal on risk rating.
Seeing as studies have shown that technical failure is the main cause in only 5 % of all accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles, the Nordic Logistics Association views with grave concern that the proposals will have disproportionate burdens for the industry without offering any benefits.
For these reasons we must recommend that the proposals i the present shape are rejected. Before the steps proposed are taken, the Commission must first develop legislation on harmonised methods for controls. A good example is lack of harmonization between MS with different methodology for test of brakes in periodic roadworthiness test as well as in road side checks. These differences in methodology give different result for brake efficiency. An other example is securing of cargo where national legislations are not harmonized. Some MS have no regulation at all about how to secure the cargo. NLA proposes that EU develop regulation on securing of cargo based on principles of standard EN 12195-1, which is a safe level for load securing. As long as this method is not universally accepted in the EU it is unreasonable to develop common rules for control of load securing and to create a system for risk-rating.
Our main concerns are therefore
- art 10 of the roadside inspection proposal. We propose a new art 10.1 is introduced that requires the Commission together with industry and the national authorities to develop harmonised methods for the different controls, before they can be used for risk rating.
- need for harmonization of methodology for periodic roadworthiness tests in MS, for example test of brake efficiency, before the result can be used in a proposed risk ration system.
- The experience with lack of harmonization between MS with the implementation and control of driving and rest hours in relation to a risk rating system