A NEW law in France banning truck drivers from sleeping in their cabs during rest times has been slammed by international road freight operators and union representatives for targeting foreign truckers.
The International Road Transport Union (IRU) described the move as "worrying national protectionist measures" and called on the European Union and member states to act.
Failure to comply with the new rule could lead to a year's imprisonment and a fine of EUR30,000 (US$40,382).
Critics of the new regulation say it has not been thought through properly and has security, cost and competition implications, reports Lloyd's Loading List.
France introduced the law in a move designed to improve compliance with labour legislation in the road haulage sector, particularly non-compliance or "dumping" regarding working-hours restrictions.
IRU general delegate to the EU, Michael Nielsen, said: "As EU legislation is unclear on weekly rest time in vehicle cabins and the fact that the EU does not consider it to be a serious infringement, these announced penalties are completely unacceptable."
Another said that the lawmakers in question "had no idea of how the road haulage sector worked" in having to cope with daily uncertainties such as customers premises which are not open to take deliveries when a truck pulls up, traffic jams and road diversions.
"On top of that, separating a driver from his truck raises a fundamental security issues. For want of dedicated parking facilities for trucks at hotels, a driver might have to walk some distance to find accommodation, returning the next morning to the vehicle to find no freight nor diesel."
Source : HKSG.