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24/04/2014
ROAD FREIGHT CLAIMS COMMON RULES AT EUROPEAN LEVEL

Road Freight

New rules on International haulage are needed. Meanwhile there are important news on road safety 

Paolo Castiglia

Standard rules for European transport and road safety mark the challenge for the freight industry’s future.

According to observers, a new set of common rules for transport firms and operators is the winning strategy. Road cabotage, (transporting goods between destinations in a country other than the one of origin) in particular, has a great impact on the economic performance of the sector, and it is for this reason that Unatras and Anita have made proposals to bring the practice of road cabotage within the fold of fair competition between Italian and European companies. Specifically, three steps have been suggested: first, call for a  presumption of  liability on a foreign carrier, resulting in the application of penalties for illegal transport, when passing through Italy empty ( without a load) and that fails to give a reason for its circulation on our territory; second, in case of repeated violations, at least a six months ban, for the truck driver, from the country; third, start thorough traffic police inspections at loading and offloading points where the presence of foreign carriers seems suspiciously high. It’s good to notice that the first two proposals are already governed by the EU Regulation 1072 and therefore quickly applicable in our country.

 

The proposals outlined above can be useful and have the advantage of not harming anyone. But they are not decisive. Road cabotage should in fact be part of a much broader view, which includes the competitiveness of our system, the solution of which must be found exclusively at European level and must take into account our country’s de-industrialization to the advantage of other European countries.Road traffic flow has changed profoundly, goods produced abroad have increased and will increase more and more.  Italian trucking needs support if it is to regain competitiveness in Europe, and meet the conditions to compete with the economic changes, past and future. "On this - says Pasquale Russo, secretary general of Fai, one of the most representative road freight associations – we’ll find in other European countries valuable allies. This year, Paris will host the European Ministers of Transport Conference on road freight, decided by the European Minister’s Council  last December. That is where the issues of abusive road cabotage and related inspections, social dumping resulting from the abuse of temporary workers and the most important issue of standardization should be dealt with. This is, in our opinion, the best way. ""I've learned - Russo insists - that others called loudly for the application of the safeguard clause. Everyone knows that such an option must first be authorized by Brussels and that the duration cannot be longer than six months renewable for a maximum of six more.

The principal of mutuality deserves further consideration, though, by the EU: that is, if Italy was to prohibit foreign carriers to operate under a cabotage regime, Italian companies could not do the same abroad. "Switching to road safety, we are facing a real turning point: recently a master plan involving the installation of small cameras (called Road Scan ) on 2,000 vehicles equipped with an accelerometer and a GPS devise  has taken off, becoming moving sentinels able to reconstruct objectively an accident. This thanks to an agreement between the Ania Foundation and the Federtrasporti Group; a brilliant idea to contrast accidents and insurance fraud: cargo vehicles are transformed into roving witnesses of every kind of accident."With this test – Federtrasporti representatives claim - the first of its kind to be conducted in Europe on the road freight sector, we want to give a precious help in that long journey aimed at  reducing accidents, that, from 2002, when the frequency of claims stood at around 72.8%, was reduced to 33.4% in 2013.

"A similar experiment has already been conducted by the Ania Foundation on buses in a number of cities in Italy. The idea behind the project developed with Federtrasporti, is to monitor what is happening also in extra urban areas."During the period in which we monitored buses - explains Umberto Guidoni, Secretary General of the Ania Foundation - we found a few recurring episodes in claims concerning public transport vehicles. In many cases, for example, we found that moments of distraction by bus drivers were responsible for accidents. With this experiment, we want to understand what the most common causes for road accidents involving heavy transport vehicles are. The Road Scan is also able to reconstruct the dynamics of an accident, assigning the right responsibilities. The data that are gathered from these observations are an excellent basis for further driver training."

 



• ROAD FREIGHT: NEW JURISDICTION FOR THE NATIONAL REGISTER

The challenges facing the Central Committee of the National Register of Haulage are particularly complex. The Stability law has increased the number of necessary requirements before a company can undertake the profession, but also to assess more accurately the performance of their business.
Among the main duties assigned to the Central Committee by the current legislation, is the lay-out and publication of the National Register of haulage, in addition to recognizing certifying bodies of quality and to implement the directives of the Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation in the field of road transport.

The National Register must also provide publishing and information services for transport companies , including IT and telecommunication tools, as well as performing functions of research and counselling concerning draft legislations, solutions of issues related to entering the road transport market and in becoming professional drivers;  verify the regularity of the registered companies as to how they conduct their activity, and the adequacy between the actual fleet and the number of drivers employed. Furthermore, attention to the regularity of vehicle insurance, through the use of data in the DPC of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and telecommunication links between of information systems of INAIL, INPS and Chambers of Commerce. Last but not least, it must exercise control over registered companies in order to ensure the  continued compliance with the requirements set to exercise the profession.

 



UNITED KINGDOM: A TOLL FOR HEAVY VEHICLES

New costs: from 1 April 2014 in the UK vehicles of a total mass equal to or greater than 12 tons, must display a motorway pass - in line with the requirements of the European standards in the field of tolls - of the validity of a day , a week, a month, a year, proportional to the weight and number of axles of the vehicle. The amount owed by each truck has not yet been decided , but it is between 1.70 and 10 pounds per day , with decreasing amount based on length of time.

This decision aims to ensure revenue from commercial traffic for the costs of maintenance on roads so far not subject to tolls. The company Northgate Public Services has been awarded the contract for the development and management of the system for collecting tolls from foreign carriers, which provides different ways of payment for the purchasing of a pass (online , by phone , at special sales terminals). The system will allow the authorities to identify anyone in default with the payment of the toll, and apply the relevant sanctions: 300 pounds and the impounding of the vehicle in the event of non-payment.

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