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The French Labor Inspection has announced checks on the working time of drivers of vehicles up to 3.5 t. The local services will require a document that states how many hours a driver spent behind the wheel.

The French Labor Inspectorate (Direccte), Regional Directorates for Transport and Environment (DREAL), police, gendarmerie and customs officers received guidelines on how to control working time of van drivers. Based on the amended Regulation of 20 July 1998 on hours of work and an individual book of inspections in road transport of goods, the aforementioned services have already started inspections according to new guidelines.

Until recently, van drivers’ working time checks did not happen very often in France. The French, however, announce that they will be carried out systematically during routine activities.

What documents are required in France?

According to French regulations, drivers of vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes should record their time of work and rest in France, from the moment of entry into its territory until departure. They should do this in an Individualized Control Book specially designed for this purpose (Livret individuel de contrôle, abbreviated LIC). LIC is a document that records the time of work and rest of a driver of a vehicle with a GVW of up to 3.5 t. The driver must systematically record the data, keep it in the vehicle and show it to the services during the inspection.

However, as stressed in a report from April 2018, Damien Pichereau, a French MP for the preparation of legislative proposals for transporting vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes on French territory, drivers from abroad may have another document confirming the working time.

The position of the Directorate General for Labor is that LIC formally does not apply to foreigners driving light goods vehicles up to 3.5 t. However, they are obliged to record their driving time in a document in a free form, with similar content, i.e. containing the number of working hours” – reads the report by Pichereau.

The document, in accordance with the amended Regulation of July 20, 1998, should include a schedule of transport services, including working hours and the duration of breaks and must be signed by the head of the company. It is also necessary to make daily and monthly summaries. The entrepreneur must also store all books for at least five years.

Importantly, drivers from abroad should have a certificate of posting with them – the exception here is only transit.

In the light of the generally accepted system of applying the law, the provisions concerning road transport apply analogously to all entities being part of it, even if they are not explicitly indicated in the Act – as it is in the case of vans” – says Małgorzata Kamińska from the Translawyers office.

Increased van checks

In recent times, increased inspections of vehicles up to 3.5 t in the EU countries have been observed more and more often. This is a result of the work announced by the European Commission, at the end of last year, on legal regulations concerning road transport performed with vehicles with a maximum permissible weight of 3.5 t” – adds Kaminska.

The lawyer also warns that inspections may be a more and more common phenomenon, not only in France.

That is why it is worth having all the required documents and paying close attention to recording driving time because it is not true that it does not apply to light transport” – she emphasizes.

Fines for the lack of LIC

The penalty for the lack of an Individual Control Book or other document confirming the driver’s working time up to 3.5 t in France amounts to 135 euro (fixed rate class 4 offense). However, it can be reduced to 90 euros, and the maximum amount is 750 euros.

You can find the example of the book on the website of the French Ministry of Transport.

Photo: Twitter.com/objectifgard

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