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The French government to ban drivers of light commercial vehicles to sleep in their van

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Last year, the French government decided to take light transport under the microscope. Work on the relevant regulations was carried out by Damien Pichereau, the deputy of the ruling party. Recently, he presented their results.

According to the French transport association OTRE, MP Damien Pichereau ( La République en marche party – REM) proposed an amendment to the French Mobility Act (Loi d’orientation des mobilités, LOM), according to which van drivers should not spend the night in their vehicle. This amendment was discussed by the Committee on Legal Affairs and can become final following the vote of the plenary on 3 June. Pichereau was appointed to develop legislative modifications for transporting laws regarding vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes, at the beginning of last year.

OTRE welcomes the proposal for a ban. In the opinion of the union, a successful fight against the so-called social dumping requires stricter rules for transporting vehicles under 3.5 t.

Penalties for the lack of documentation on work time

Since last year, the French labour inspectorate has been carrying out intensive checks on vans in terms of compliance with the regulation on work hours and the proper documentation of road transport.

Drivers of foreign vehicles with a DMC below 3.5 tonnes, should register their work and rest time in France – from the moment of entry until their departure. Records of work and rest times of the driver of a vehicle with a DMC of up to 3.5 t is to be kept in a register book specially designated for this purpose (Livret individuel de contrôle, i.e. in the Control Book).

In his report from April 2018, Damien Pichereau points out that foreign drivers may have another document confirming their working time instead of Livret individuel de contrôle.

France can impose a fine for the lack of proper documentation with a lump sum penalty of 135 euros  (an offence of class 4). The penalty can be reduced to 90 euros or raised to 750 euros.

In this report, submitted to the French Minister for Transport, proposals were made for specific changes to the law to increase the obligations of carriers of vehicles with a maximum permissible vehicle weight of 3.5 tons. Pichereau points out that the government should expand some of the transportation laws to the drivers of light commercial vehicles. This expansion should include the regulation of driving and work time as well as the requirements of access to the profession (professional skills, good reputation, financial potential, headquarters).

Similar plans are also made by the European Commission, that decided to take steps to harmonise regulations for transport above and below 3.5 t. Brussels wants to extend Regulation (EC) 1071/2009 defining standard rules regarding the conditions of exercising the profession of road transport operator also for entrepreneurs providing services with vehicles with a maximum DMC up to 3.5 t.

Photo: creditbobby_hidy_flickr