Exemptions under road transport law due to Covid-19
Based on the dynamically developing pandemic situation the Federal Office for Goods Transport in Germany has once again updated the relevant exemptions for the transport and haulage industry (current status: 8 March 2021). This includes, among other things, the law on driving personnel, road haulage, professional driver qualifications and hazardous goods. Some of these exemptions are also included in the new adopted Regulation (EU) 2021/267, which was published on 22 February 2021.
1. Driving personnel law
According to Article 23(1) of Regulation (EU) No 165/2014, tachographs normally shall be subject to periodic inspection every two years. The Federal Office for Good Transport has extended the deadline to the effect that the inspection which should have been carried out between 1 September 2020 and 30 June 2021 may now be realised no later than ten months after the date on which it would have been required.
2. Road haulage law
Another exception was regulated in the road haulage law. By way of derogation from Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No. 1072/2009 and Article 5 para. 7 of Regulation (EC) No. 1072/2009, the period of validity of Community licences and driver attestations which would otherwise have expired or would expire between 1 September 2020 and 30 June 2021 has been extended by ten months.
3. Professional driver qualification law
The deadlines for the completion of further training pursuant to Article 8(2) and (3)
of Directive 2003/59/EC are also extended by ten additional months if they would have expired or would expire between 1 September 2020 and 30 June 2021. Advanced education that are subject to the time limits in Art. 2 of Regulation (EU) 2020/698 shall be extended only by six months or until 1 July 2021, whichever is the later. However, the certificate of competency remains valid. The same applies to the registration of the code number 95 and the driver qualification card referred to in Article 10(1) of 1 and annex II of Directive 2003/59/EC.
4. Road traffic law
In order to ensure the delivery of goods, the exemption from the Sunday and public holiday driving ban is also extended by one month or until 30 June 2021. This applies in particular to the supply of corona vaccination centres with COVID-19 vaccines, cooling systems for the (intermediate) storage of corona vaccines and the vaccination equipment and necessary medical instruments. Excluded from this regulation are large and heavy goods transports.
5. Hazardous goods law
If training measures for dangerous goods drivers and dangerous goods safety advisers get cancelled training certificates cannot be renewed or extended. In this context, some EU member states have signed multilateral agreements (M333 and M334) by which the continued use of training certificates whose validity expires between 1 March 2020 and 1 September 2021 will be possible for a transitional period.
Ultimately, the newly issued regulations and agreements show how strongly the pandemic is affecting the road freight transport sector. A temporary halt to road freight transport to contain the coronavirus would be inappropriate. Instead, new regulations are necessary to maintain the availability of goods for the population and economy.