European Commission clarifies mandatory “return of trucks” Mobility Package rule

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The European Commission has clarified the “mandatory return of trucks” rules in the EU Mobility Package, writes the Spanish transportation association Fenadismer. The clarification includes an explanation of when the clock starts ticking, exactly where the trucks must return to and how hauliers can prove they have followed the rule.

European Commission clarifies mandatory “return of trucks” Mobility Package rule
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The “return of trucks” rule, which is part of the Mobility Package, was accepted in August 2020 and came into force on 21 February 2022. According to the regulation, an HGV used for international transport must return to the transport company’s operational base in the country in which a truck is registered every 8 weeks.

An undertaking shall “organise its vehicle fleet’s activity in such a way as to ensure that vehicles that are at the disposal of the undertaking and are used in international carriage return to one of the operational centres in that Member State at least within eight weeks after leaving it”, reads Art 5. of the  Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009.

The EC has answered some of the many questions raised by hauliers about the practical implementation of the legislation, says Fenadismer.

Which vehicles must return to their home base?

All road transport vehicles above 2.5 tons (those that require a community license). Non-commercial passenger transport vehicles and vehicles that cannot exceed 40 km/h are excepted.

Where shall the trucks return to?

The place to which an HGV must return every eight weeks is to one of the company’s operating centres in its state of establishment, which is the state in which the company is established even if the transport manager is or comes from another country.

How is the time of the eight weeks calculated?

The eight-week period starts at 00:00 on the day after the truck leaves its establishment state (for example, if it leaves on Sunday, May 29 at 16:00, the start of the computation of the eight weeks is at 00:00 hours on Monday, May 30).

The eight-week period ends at midnight on the same day of the eighth following week. The lorry must be back in its established centre before 11:59 p.m. on the day on which the eight-week calculation ends.

For example, if the HGV leaves its establishment state on May 29, the start of the calculation is at 00:00 on Monday, May 30, so it has to be back in its establishment state before 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26.

Holidays and weekends (Saturdays and Sundays included) are not counted as a day of return, that is, if the return corresponds to Saturday, June 4 (because that is when the eight weeks end), the return must take place no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 5.

How long shall the truck stay in the state of establishment?

The new regulation does not specify how long the HGV must stay in its established state after the return of eight weeks.

How can the company prove the return of the truck?

Companies are required to prove that they have complied with the obligation to return the truck every eight weeks to an operations centre in their state of establishment in the event of an inspection.

Tachograph records, consignment notes or drivers’ hours’ records can serve as proof that this obligation has been fulfilled.

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