Truck drivers pay fines for lack of parking infrastructure
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The lack of a parking infrastructure is one of the reasons why drivers cannot comply with driving time regulations. On the one hand, carriers pursue deadlines. On the other hand, drivers instead of going to a place of loading/unloading must devote their time to look for a free parking space or do it while they should rest.
Remember that the vehicle cannot be parked anywhere. The choice of a parking lot matters because the carrier is responsible for the goods in case of theft or damage.
Although in case of a lack of parking spot, drivers bend the time of work in good faith and are not responsible for the lack of parking infrastructure in EU countries – the control authorities do not accept any explanations and impose strict fines.
Why is this happening?
Judicial and control authorities recognize that it is the responsibility of transport companies and drivers to plan the route appropriately and to include the margin that may arise from unforeseen events on the road. This should not come as a surprise, because each sector of the economy, in its essence, gives entrepreneurs different requirements.
Unfortunately, the practice does not always go hand in hand with the assumptions
With the rapid development of the transport sector, international infrastructure is not keeping up – there are more and more trucks and too few parking spaces. Even the best logistics analysts and well-trained drivers with many years of experience are not able to predict whether he will be able to find a free parking spot. What’s more, with the current number of parking lots there is no choice – if the driver does not stop at the planned parking, the next one is far enough so that he may not have enough time to get there.
In view of the above, it might seem that carriers are charged with fines issued on the basis of regulations without any insight into the existing realities. However, it is not exactly so. In such cases, art. 12 of Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 may be invoked. Drivers know that they can rely on this provision by adding an annotation to the tachograph printout, they often use it, but without the expected results. Why do the services not recognize this during the inspection? Probably because drivers do it carelessly and badly.
Provided that road safety is not thereby jeopardised and to enable the vehicle to reach a suitable stopping place, the driver may depart from Articles 6 to 9 to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of persons, of the vehicle or its load. The driver shall indicate the reason for such departure manually on the record sheet of the recording equipment or on a printout from the recording equipment or in the duty roster, at the latest on arrival at the suitable stopping place.”
Inspecting authorities often do not recognize the reference to this article, because they want to avoid abuse, so if the driver writes in the annotation „Art. 12 EC No. 12/561/2006 I exceeded the daily driving time because I was looking for a suitable parking space”, it is not a sufficient circumstance to accept that art. 12 was rightly indicated.
The correct annotation should look like this:
„Article 12 EC No. 12/561/2006, while maintaining proper road safety, I extended the driving time in order to ensure the safety of persons, vehicle and cargo. The reason was to reach an appropriate stopping place. ”
In this way, the entry fulfills all the conditions for a proper reference to art.12.
Another solution is to appeal against the fine and prove your case in court
The possibility of appeal is possible in almost all EU countries. Of course, it does not give a 100 percent certainty that the court will recognize the driver’s position.
It should be remembered that the solutions presented here have a chance to bring the expected results only if due diligence is executed in making deviations from the work time. If the driver writes that he has exceeded his working time by 5 hours, keeping in mind road safety, it will be difficult to show how he has ensured safety for himself and other road users.
The possibility of deviating from any regulations should be used as a last resort. First, take all actions that belong to the driver’s tasks, and then, when unexpected circumstances occur, rely on derogations.
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