EU transport commissioner clarifies existing rules on cross-border use of longer trucks, submits interpretation of the directive on weights and dimensions on road vehicles between adjacent member states to European Parliament

Kendall Sinclair

Kendall Sinclair

BRUSSELS , June 18, 2012 (press release) – Vice-President Kallas, EU Commissioner responsible for Transport, has today provided the European Parliament and Council with an interpretation of the Directive on weights and dimensions of road vehicles1 and the conditions to be met when adjacent Member States wish to authorise longer trucks to cross the border between them.

This interpretation was sent in a letter to Mr Simpson, Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament, following questions originally asked by the International Road Transport Union.

Directive 96/53 on the maximum weights and dimensions of road vehicles provides for three circumstances where derogations to the maximum dimensions of the trucks can be granted. Adjacent Member States who wish to use these derogations to authorise longer trucks to cross the border between them can only do so if specific conditions are met:

  • The first derogation concerns a transport operation of an indivisible load. In such a case the Member States concerned can authorise it on the basis of special permits;
  • The second derogation concerns vehicles using the modular concept crossing a border, where the existing infrastructure requirements allow it. The directive is not opposed to such transport operations insofar as the international competition is not significantly affected and the transport remains within two Member States.
  • Finally, the third derogation concerns a journey which is part of a trial. That trial must remain local and limited in time.
In addition there must be no discrimination between hauliers from the Member State concerned and those from other Member States. Moreover, these derogations should not lead to exceptional practices becoming the norm.

The above has no effect in Member States which do not make use of these derogations and do not allow longer vehicles on their territory. Each Member States can thus decide to allow or not to allow the use of longer vehicles on their territory, based on local circumstances and concerns. This is in line with the principle of subsidiarity.

The Commission is planning to propose limited amendments to other aspects of the Directive on weights and dimensions late in 2012 (e.g. to improve the cabin design and the aerodynamic of the truck). This would provide an opportunity for the co-legislators to review the rules on cross border use if they wished

Background – Currently, use of modular trucks is allowed in Finland and Sweden, and is being trialled in Denmark, the Netherlands and some German Länder.

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