European Commission officials and the French authorities are in talks over the country’s controversial introduction of rules on “blind spot” safety stickers for road transport.
The new rules – which made such stickers mandatory for all lorries travelling on French roads – came into force on January 1, although international vehicles were given until April 1 to comply.
Both ESTA and the IRU – the International Road Transport Union – have raised concerns about the new rules with Brussels arguing that they are impossible to implement and will do nothing to improve safety.
The rules say that all lorries and buses must be fitted with three stickers, 30 centimetres in size, one at the rear and one on each side of the vehicle. But transport companies have pointed out that this is impossible for large numbers of vehicles, such as those carrying wide or oversized loads, car transporters, low loaders and many more.
The issue was also raised with the Commission by two Dutch MEPs – Tom Berendsen and Annie Schreijer-Pierik – who asked whether the new rules were legal and whether they jeopardised European rules on the free movement of goods.
The urgency of the situation was underlined by the IRU who said it has received reports that some international transport operators have already been penalised in France, despite the grace period.
The outcome of the talks between the French Ministries of Transport and the Interior and the European Commission is not yet clear, but the IRU said that further information is expected before the end of the month.
ESTA Director Ton Klijn said: “With support from our friends and colleagues at the IRU we have made ESTA’s views very clear and we hope this situation can be resolved quickly and amicably. We are always happy to discuss measures to improve safety but impractical and unilateral actions like this by individual governments are not the way to deliver lasting and meaningful improvements.”