Bennion: mandatory tachographs for vans and Landrovers are madness

Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Bennion has slammed the Greens in the European Parliament for their attempts to force all vehicles over 1.5 tonnes used for carrying goods to install digital tachographs.

The rejected Green proposals would have caused mayhem for millions of self-employed drivers, from farmers to plumbers. However, a Socialist proposal to include vehicles over 2.8t rather than the current 3.5t vehicles into the regulation originally introduced to ensure proper rest periods for long distance lorry drivers was adopted, meaning that there will be a potentially bigger administrative burden on larger vans.

Commenting after the votes on the revision of the 1985 tachograph regulation, Mr Bennion, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on transport in the European Parliament, said:

“These proposals from Green and Socialist MEPs are nothing short of reckless and would create mayhem for millions of small businesses and self employed drivers.

“The idea that farmers, plumbers or anyone else using a van or Landrover for their business should have to install an expensive tacho and comply with bureaucratic requirements such as recording their journeys and being subjected to additional inspections is absolute madness.

“These small businesses would suddenly be subjected to a whole range of rules that currently do not apply to them at all.

“Lib Dems are leading the fight to improve road safety across Europe, but we must ensure that the administrative burdens for the road transport sector are proportionate and sensible.”

Today’s vote on the revision of the 1985 tachograph regulation will be the starting point of negotiations between the European Parliament and EU Member States on the final new rules.

Liberal Democrat MEPs will continue to fight for reduced administrative burden and exemptions for small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs while ensuring that new smart tachographs are put in place for long-distance lorry journeys to reduce fraud and serious road accidents.


Notes to Editors:

Today, Euro-MPs inStrasbourg voted to update rules from 1985 requiring the use of tachographs in lorries to ensure proper rest periods for drivers in an effort to reduce road accidents. Current tachographs that are easy to tamper with will now be replaced by new digital instruments that automatically record a precise location via satellite and make fraud more difficult.

Due to Socialist and Green amendments introducing new administrative burdens for small businesses and self-employed drivers, Liberal Democrat MEPs abstained from the final report, but will continue to work to improve the final text and reduce unnecessary red tape.

Six million European trucks and busses are equipped with tachographs in order to enable the control of compliance of professional drivers and transport undertakings with the social road transport legislation.

The digital tachograph was made mandatory for new vehicles in 2006, but currently only covers vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. Amendments by the Green group in the European Parliament sought to lower this threshold to 1.5 tonnes, which would catch many Taxi’s, White Vans and even Land Rovers.

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