Warnings of tighter abnormal transport regs in Germany and France

Unfortunately, we have to start the New Year with news of further tightening regulations for abnormal transports in Germany and France.

Also we have received reports that the Belgian police are fining trucks for missing marker signs that were abolished by the European Union years ago.

These are all worrying developments which give the impression that some authorities have started a campaign to harass abnormal transports. At ESTA we will continue our efforts to address these issues and confront regulators with unnecessary and unwanted red tape.

This information was passed to ESTA by TLN, the Dutch association for transport and logistics.

Deviations from permitted sizes and weights in Germany still restricted
In previous reports, we already indicated that Germany intends to allow only limited deviations in dimensions and/or weights and axle loads from those mentioned in an abnormal transport permit.

This provision was originally to apply as of January 1, 2021 but was postponed. With a new change in the traffic law, this provision is now effective, as of November 2021.

This means a margin of up to 15 cm (downwards) will apply to the dimensions and 5% to the weights and axle loads of a transport. A width transport with an exemption of 3.40 m may therefore still be up to a width of 3.25 m. If the width is narrower, formally a new exemption must be requested.

With this provision, Germany distinguishes itself from most other European countries where smaller dimensions and/or weights and axle loads than those stated in the permit do not usually cause problems.

German language required for exceptional transport
Germany has also tightened the regulations for driving with exceptional transports with a change in the law. This says that to guarantee a safe and orderly flow of traffic, the driver or co-driver of an abnormal transport must have sufficient command of the German language during the journey.

In the case of annual permits, this condition does not have to be met if it is not expected that there will be traffic situations during the transport in which knowledge of the German language is required.

France demands knowledge of French language from exceptional transport driver
We have received reports that France, with immediate effect, is imposing stricter requirements on drivers of exceptional transports. Drivers of category 1 transports or a co-driver present must have a sufficient command of the French language from now on. If this is not the case, an escort vehicle must be present during the transport. A Category 1 transport is 20m long x 3m wide x 4.5m high, and has a maximum weight of 48 tonnes.

The new requirements are said to be a reaction by France to the stricter regulations in Germany. They came into effect from January 1.

High fines for missing rear marking signs in Belgium
The Belgian police have recently been carrying out frequent checks on the presence of rear marking signs on commercial vehicles (see image). Despite the fact that the signs concerned have not been compulsory for the admission/registration of lorries and trailers in the EU for years now, Belgium has not yet adjusted its national legislation accordingly.

The fines for not having rear markings vary between 350 and 1,000 euros. ESTA is consulting with the IRU and the Dutch and Belgian transport organisations to find a solution. However, this may take some time. To avoid fines, the advice is to still affix the signs when driving to Belgium.