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Major change to EU tachograph penalty legislation

On 22 May 2024, significant changes concerning occasional passenger transport came into force as part of the amendment to EC Regulation 561/2006. The legislation also introduced substantial changes regarding penalties for tachograph-related infringements.

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EU Act 2024/1258, which came into force on 22 May, is the first amendment to EC 561/2006 since 2020. At that time, the changes were necessitated by the Mobility Package. The current changes result from an ex-post evaluation of the aforementioned regulation. The modifications mainly concern the occasional carriage of passengers by road, but the amendment also introduces some significant changes in road freight transport.

With the entry into force of the regulation, the system of penalties for tachograph-related infringements has changed. Previously, penalties could only be imposed within the country where the infringement occurred. According to a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (9 September 2021, case C-906), regulations allowed penalties to be imposed for breaches of drivers’ working time regulations regardless of where the infringement occurred, but not for breaches of Regulation 165/2014 (EU), which relate to the operation of tachographs.

It is now possible to impose a penalty in any country of the European Union. For example, an inspector in any EU country will be able to penalise a driver for failing to record a border crossing between other countries or for infringements in manual entries. Regulation (EU) 2024/1258 will enable controllers to issue penalties for tachograph-related infringements that occurred within the past 28 days, regardless of the country in which the infringement was committed.

The legislative act states:

“A Member State shall empower the competent authorities to impose penalties on an undertaking or a driver for an infringement of this Regulation or of Regulation (EU) No 165/2014 detected on its territory and for which a penalty has not yet been imposed, even where that infringement has taken place on the territory of another Member State or of a third country.”

It should also be noted that from 1 January 2025, i.e., in six months’ time, roadside checks will cover infringements from the past 56 days instead of the current 28 days.