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Double-manning is more popular among new drivers who, when accompanied by more experienced colleagues, may improve their skills and get to know all road-related habits and rules. To present double-manning in more detail, we decided to describe all rules applicable to transport of goods by a multi-man crew.
Rules related to double-manning
The basic rule concerns a rest period. Namely, a diver can start their work in the company of a co-driver after having their weekly or daily rest. It applies to both drivers in a cab. In short – drivers may depart after a break. Another rule says that drivers must complete their route in 30 hours and have a daily rest period of at least 9 consecutive hours within that period.
There is one condition – carriage must be qualified as performed by a multi-man crew as per the Regulation no. 561/2006. Thus, multi-manning means the situation where during each period of driving between any two consecutive rest periods – weekly or daily there are two drivers in a truck cab to do the driving. The fact of being in a cab is of essence here.
The first hour is very important as it is the time for gathering the crew. For the first hour the presence of a co-driver in a cab is optional but for the remainder of the period it is compulsory.
Passenger-driver – what is their situation?
When setting out, the second driver becomes, in a manner of speaking, a passenger. They must be able to drive and the time they spend sitting by a driver is called a duty. What is important is that during that time they cannot perform professional duties but they must be ready to drive a vehicle. Once the first driver completes their driving period, the second driver takes over and drives for 4.5 hours after which time the whole crew have a break.
Co-driver leaves a vehicle, tachograph’s status.
As stated above – the only exception is the first hour of carriage. For the remainder of the period it is compulsory for both drivers to be in a cab. In the case the second driver leaves a vehicle too soon, the whole transport is treated as performed by one driver as it does not comply with the requirements of a relevant regulation.
Each change of drivers or their current work-related status must be recorded by a tachograph. A tachograph has two separate slots. The card of a person acting as a driver should be placed in the first slot. A tachograph allows to select a “work” option for the first driver. The card of the co-driver is placed in the second slot and in such a case it is important to select a “duty” option for that driver. This way, information recoded on the cards will reflect the actual situation in a cab.
It is important that when one person drives a vehicle, another one is ready to drive. When changing, drivers must remember to switch their cards as only slot number 1 records a vehicle’s movement.
So far it was possible for a driver to sleep in a cab but today it is prohibited in many EU countries. Drivers will face high fines in, among others, France, Belgium and Germany. What are the fines? Why was sleeping in a cab suddenly prohibited?
What fines do drivers and carriers face?
France introduced the highest fine for sleeping in a vehicle cab. For failure to comply, both a driver and carrier could be sentenced to a year’s imprisonment and a fine of €30,000. Considering the offence and penalties applied in other countries, the penalty is exorbitant. In Belgium, for the same offence, a driver will be given a fine of up to €1800.
The situation is similar in Germany and the Netherlands. In the first country, both a carrier and driver will be subject to a penalty. A fine imposed on a driver amounts to €60 for each hour of illegal parking while a carrier, for the same offence, will be imposed with a fine of €180 for one hour of parking, thus in the case of a 45-hour rest period the total fine imposed on a driver will be €2700 and on a carrier – €8100. The fines are not as high as in France, however, they may affect the budget.
The Netherlands introduced the ban on sleeping in a truck cab some time ago. A fine for the offence amounts to €1300 but the law has not been enforced. With the introduction of the EU’s restrictions everything may change because the Netherlands might be treated as a place to have a rest in.
The above countries were followed by Austria which introduced a ban on sleeping in a cab during a 45-hour rest period, however, the offence-related penalties were not yet specified. Everything might change with time because Austria borders directly with Germany. The said ban does not apply in Poland so drivers may have their weekly rest in a truck cab, as long as it is properly adapted.
Hotel instead of a cab
In countries where the ban applies, the employer is obliged to provide drivers with a possibility to have their weekly rest in a convenient place of accommodation, in decent sanitary conditions. It means that the break may take place in the company’s offices, hotel or other place meeting the above conditions. It is important that the accommodation is organized beforehand as looking for a place to rest at the last minute is not an option.
The same provisions apply to the use of a roadside parking. From now on they may be used only for daily rest periods. Drivers may leave their trucks on a guarded parking.
It is expected that the above ban will be introduced in many more countries. The provision was first introduced in the countries whose ministers signed the Alliance de Routier.
Germany, Norway, Austria… Where else has the act on minimum wages for drivers of foreign companies already come into force?
More and more European countries decide to introduce minimum wages for drivers carrying out cabotage carriages within their territories. Each such decision raises concerns among Polish carriers who fear excessively high costs and losing foreign counterparties. It is thus worth taking a closer look of the trend.
Germany was the first country to introduce the minimum wage for drivers working within its territory. At the beginning, the regulation, which came into force on 1 January 2015, pertained to cabotage and carriages starting or ending in Germany, as well as transit carriages which ceased to fall within the scope of the regulation just a month later. A minimum rate on the other side of the Odra River currently amounts to EUR 8.84 gross for one hour of work.
Germany was soon followed by Norwegians who introduced the minimum wage for drivers six months later. It applies to all drivers working within Norway and driving vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tons and amounts to NOK 158.32 (approx. PLN 74) per hour. The employer should also remember to provide drivers with daily allowance in the amount of NOK 307.
The Austrian Act against Wage and Social Dumping which has been in force for a few years now applies also to drivers employed by foreign companies offering cabotage services within this country. It is worth reminding that starting this year, the minimum wage in Austria increased by 2.7% and currently the employees of Polish companies receive EUR 8.49.
France introduced the minimum wage for drivers at the beginning of July 2016. Loi Macron, which is the name of the act adopted by the French government, imposes an obligation on foreign employers to pay drivers EUR 9.67 for each worked hour.
Just a month after France, a similar act was adopted by Italy. A minimum rate for one month (five days a week, eight hours a day) of a driver’s work amounts to EUR 9.76-10.3. Non-observance of the provision by Italian companies may be subject to a penalty of even EUR 6,000 for each employee.
So far, the last European country to introduce the minimum wage for drivers of foreign companies working within its territory is Hungary. Here, however, a minimum rate is similar to the one applicable in Poland and amounts to, depending on the level of education, HUF 639-742 (approx. PLN 10) per hour.
Today, rubber anti-slip mats are commonly used in transport. Certainly, this is not without reason.
A significant difficulty when transporting palleted goods is often the immobilization of cargo. The problem may be partially solved by using transport belts but they may not be enough to secure pallets against shifting. The method proves to be much more effective when we use both transport belts and anti-slip mats, which, while increasing the friction between the floor and the pallet, reduce the risk of damaging cargo. What should you know about them? Which types of anti-slip mats are most often used by transport companies? What are other costs associated with their use?
Transport anti-slip mats
Such mats, sometimes called pads, are made of special rubber granules. The material, in connection with appropriate texture, significantly increases pallets’ adhesiveness. Therefore, a carrier may use fewer transport belts, which is of particular importance in transport of cargoes susceptible to damage. The method is also very effective because it increases the friction coefficient between the pallet and the metal floor from 0.2 to even 0.6.
The most common sizes
The popularity of the solution is to a large extent dependent on the fact that transport anti-slip mats are available in different sizes, thus making it easy to choose the best one for a given cargo. Individual mat types differ in the form of distribution (they may be sold from rolls, in the form of tape or ready-cut pieces) and thickness. The most popular mats are 15-30-centimeters wide, but, depending on our needs, we may also purchase mats with the width of more than 100 cm. Thickness of mats ranges between 3 and 8 millimeters and the thicker the mat, the bigger the maximum load.
Anti-slip mats – prices
The cost of transport mats clearly depends on their size and thickness. The average price for one square meter of a 3-milimeter mat is PLN 30-40. One meter of a 6-milimeter mat costs approx. PLN 70. The thickest, 8-milimeter mats cost PLN 85-95 per a square meter and ready-cut pieces, which may be laid under one pallet skid, can be purchased for a little more than PLN 4 per piece.
Overloading of a vehicle is subject to high financial penalties. We checked the penalty tariffs applicable in different European countries.
Provisions on exceeding the total permissible weight or maximum axle load in individual European countries are very diverse. They differ in penalty amounts and measurement error tolerance. And although overloading of a vehicle is often the result of errors made upon loading, the responsibility in such cases usually lies with a carrier for they must prove that the vehicle was not overloaded due to their fault, which sometimes may be quite a challenge. Meanwhile, the penalties in some countries are really high.
Under the control of ITD, BAG, IVW…
In Poland, the permissible weight of vehicles on public roads is checked by the Road Transport Inspectorate (ITD). In other European countries, the job is done by bodies, which are more or less its counterparts, such as BAG – Bundesamt für Güterverkehr in Germany. On Austrian roads, drivers may be inspected by the employees of the Federal Transport Office or Department of the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, whereas in the Netherlands, such inspections are performed by Inspectie Verkeer en Waterstaat (IVW).
Each of the above units applies different norms concerning tolerance in exceeding the total permissible weight or maximum axle load. German and Austrian provisions do not provide for such limits, however, exceeding the total permissible weight in these countries by not more than 2% usually ends with a caution. The Netherlands is much more tolerant in the area with limits being 10% in the case of total permissible weight and 5% when measuring the load on one axle.
In the case such values are exceeded, both carrier and driver will have to pay a financial penalty. In case the overload does not exceed 5%, a driver and a vehicle’s owner will pay EUR 10 in Austria, whereas for the overload exceeding over 30% the highest penalty amounts to EUR 235. The penalty tariff applicable in Germany is much more stringent. Here, even the slight overload is subject to a penalty of EUR 35 imposed on a carrier and in the case of overloads exceeding 35% the penalty may amount to EUR 425. Drivers on the other side of the Odra River will pay a little less – for them the fines range from EUR 30 to 380.
Transport belts help to keep the transported cargo in place. They are necessary not only in trucks but also in every vehicle transporting large cargoes. In order to use them correctly you should get familiar with their characteristics.
Types of transport belts
A belt and the attached tensioner bear a special label whose color indicates the properties of a given product. It is worth remembering that the labels are a clear indicator of a material from which a belt was made. The belt’s color is of no relevance.
Colors of labels attached to transport belts.
- blue – belts with a blue label are made of PES, widely known as polyester. They can be used in the acidic environment but they are not resistant to the activity of lye. Transport belts bearing a blue label can be used in temperatures ranging from -40 to +100 degrees Celsius,
- green – polyamide belts, not resistant to acids. The temperature range is the same as for a blue label,
- brown – belts made of polypropylene. These belts are the most resistant to chemical agents, they can be used in the acidic environment and in contact with lyes. Belts bearing a brown label can be used in temperatures ranging from -40 to +80 degrees Celsius.
Which parameters of a transport belt are the most significant?
To protect a transport belt against damaging the safe working load should not be exceeded. This is one of many parameters that can be found on a label attached to a given belt. Which parameters should we pay attention to?
- Lashing capacity (LC). The parameter specifying the maximum force that may be applied to a belt in a straight pull. Expressed in a force unit – daN on a label, a value expressed in Newtons must be converted into kilograms. In case there is no acceleration it may be assumed that 10N = 1 kg. In a round pull (round turn lashing), the strength of a belt doubles. LC-2500daN designation indicates that the strength of a belt in a straight pull totals a maximum of 2.5 tones and in a round pull – 5 tones.
- SHF (Standard Hand Force). The maximum force that may be applied to a tensioner. Usually, this parameter equals 50dkN (or 50 kg). The value has a significant influence on strength as when exceeded it may result in damage of a tensioner or breaking of a belt.
- STF (Standard Tension Force). The value indicates the maximum force with which the cargo will be pressed against the substrate. The right pressure increases friction between the cargo and substrate, which affects the lashing quality. The STF parameter is the most important one because it determines whether the goods will stay in place during transport and whether a belt will break in the event of sudden maneuvers on the road.
Storage of transport belts
Transport belts are usually stored in semi-trailers. However, in semi-trailers they may be exposed to sand, which, after penetrating belt fibers, cuts them. As a result, belts become soft and swollen. Freezing and defrosting may also have a negative effect on transport belts. Water freezes inside the belt, stretching it and damaging its structure.
To ensure the correct use of a transport belt it is important to observe the information provided on the attached label and store it in a proper manner. The belt should not be exposed to soiling or cold weather because difficult conditions may impact its durability.
31 January 2017 is a very important date for the European transport. On this day, transport ministers of such countries as France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden signed an agreement pertaining directly to joint undertakings and a common road transport market. The goal of the alliance is to guarantee better social conditions and more effective controls. What does the agreement mean for our country?
At the beginning, the agreement lists the purposes for which the document has been drafted and signed. The first one presumes development of measures adapting and amending the EU law, including social law with the purpose of enforcing legal provisions.
The second part proposes improvements in the functioning of the law enforcement apparatus. Specially designed activities will be implemented to minimize attempted fraud or unfair practices. Everything will be based on the exchange of experiences and close cooperation between the states covered by the agreement.
The last part pertains directly to transport between the EU countries. It assumes determining a common position by countries that launched the alliance, regarding social dumping and promoting unfair competition. The signatories to the agreement plan liberalization of transport, with focus on cabotage, re-organization of norms governing drivers’ working time and periods of rest, introduction of more effective coordination and control mechanisms or provision of substantial support for drivers in countries with deficiency of workers.
Additionally, politicians want to improve safety of vehicles used in transport and run the policy of mutual assistance and understanding between drivers carrying out transport tasks.
Measures taken within the agreement
The first measure assumes the implementation of resources allowing a driver to find a balance between work and private life. It concerns drivers working on weekends – time free from work. The officials plan to impose sanctions once such practices occur or promote new rules that would enable drivers to spend their time off work at home.
Some countries have already introduced such practices. Hence, a driver can choose whether they would like to spend their time off at home or in the parking lot. The promotion of the practice in question aims at reducing the number of drivers sleeping in vehicles during longer, week’s breaks.
Moreover, the provisions will also apply to light commercial vehicles, the simplification of use of electronic waybills or changes in control systems and exchange of mutual professional practices. The above measures aim at strengthening ties between entrepreneurs and unifying the knowledge of individual services controlling drivers.
Introduction of the alliance – what does it mean for Poland?
The ministers signing the agreement speak, so to say, on behalf of all EU member states without taking into account such conditions as, e.g., distance between a driver’s place of residence and a route he travels. It means that the provisions were adapted to Germany or France. Drivers from such countries are the closest to their homes and can plan their trip in such a way to make it home for a break. In the case of Poland it is not viable because some routes pass through Spain or Great Britain, thus making it impossible for drivers to go home for the weekend. It means that they are doomed to suffer sanctions from the very launch of the alliance.
National specialists who point to the fact that the community’s assumptions were violated are skeptical about the whole agreement. A few strong countries cannot decide about mutual laws that hit other member states. This constitutes direct discrimination, which may lead to the permanent exclusion of single member states from the common, EU policy.
Today, a pet in a truck cab is nothing peculiar. We must have heard in the media of a driver who regularly or occasionally takes their dog or cat on a journey across Europe. First of all, it should be mentioned that the practice in question is legal, however, one must always observe certain legal regulations and use their common sense since such a fellow traveler entails a number of obligations.
What conditions must be met when travelling with our four-legged friend?
Due to our national fondness of dogs, this type of a pet can be most often seen in a cab. Depending on a place of destination, our friend must have relevant documents and be adequately prepared. Such preparations look different before travelling abroad and travelling within the country.
First, our pet needs a passport. We may travel to European countries using our ID but a dog must have a passport. It is issued by an independent veterinarian. Additionally, our companion must have a transponder, more popularly known as a microchip. If a dog traveled abroad in the past, before 2011, it might have been marked with a tattoo. The option is still viable, however, the marking must be visible and we must hold a document which confirms that a tattoo was made and provides a date on which it happened.
A dog must be vaccinated against rabies but not right before a trip. The first vaccination becomes valid only after 21 days and each consecutive one, after 24 hours. Therefore, our trip must be planned or a pet prepared in advance.
How is a pet in a truck perceived in other countries?
There is no ban on transporting a dog in a cab in the EU countries. Nevertheless, when planning our route we must keep in mind that a given state could have introduced its own laws and recommendations concerning the transport of animals. It is also worth checking which type of animals is covered by a given law because if we decide to travel with a non-regulated pet– it will be outside the law.
The same applies if we want to travel outside the EU. Each country introduces its own regulations, hence it is necessary to get familiar with them much earlier and put them into practice.
There are no legal provisions pertaining to non-commercial transport of animals, therefore we must seek all information in laws related to cargo. One of the regulations states explicitly that transported cargo must not in any way impede driving and must be properly secured. How should we read that? A dog may not disturb the driver and must be fastened in an appropriate way.
In the case the police stops us and claims that the laws were violated, we may receive a ticket amounting to 20 – 500 PLN depending on a police officer. If, for any reason, the case is brought to court we are faced with a fine of 3000 PLN, or even a reprimand. In the case we violate the law our pet may be sent back to our country, placed in quarantine or put down.
When making a decision about taking a pet on a journey, we must remember that this is a living animal and provide it with appropriate travel conditions. Therefore, we must make sure that there is water, a bowl and food prepared for our fellow traveler in a cab.
Also, we must be prepared for such severe conditions as freezing cold or heat. A pet should not be left in a hot car on a hot day as it might lead to its death. The same applies during freezing weather conditions, especially in the case of small animals.
When planning a trip with a companion, the drivers commonly decide to take along a dog. It is usually caused by loneliness on the road. We must remember to prepare ourselves for such a journey. Despite the pressure of everyday tasks and a large number of documents, the most important thing is to accustom a dog to traveling and staying in a confined space so that it feels at ease when we decide to take it on the road.
Every driver using the roads of a given country is obliged to incur road charges. The charges may be covered in the form of a vignette, purchased and affixed to a vehicle’s windscreen or paid for at a motorway gate. Individual countries may apply different road charges, depending on the adopted legislation. What charges do we face in 2017?
Country-specific road charges levied in 2017
At the end of 2016 German authorities made a unanimous decision on the introduction of motorway tolls in Germany not earlier than in autumn, which is directly associated with Bundestag elections. Additionally, the country will implement other legislative changes details of which were not revealed by a person publishing the information. The anticipated cost of a ten-day vignette ranges from 5 to 15 EUR and a two-month one from 16 to 22 EUR.
On 1 April 2016 Belgium introduced the system of electronic toll collection “Viapass”. Nevertheless, the use of country motorways is entirely free of charge with the exception of a tunnel between Liefkenshoek and Antwerp. The charges for using the tunnel by drivers of vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tons are collected with the use of Viapass.
The things are a little more complicated in Austria where all vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tons are subject to road charges. The tolls are charged using a „Go-Box” device, which must be affixed on a vehicle’s windscreen. The amount of the charge depends on the number of axles and the number of kilometers covered. For a vehicle with EURO VI emission class and 3 axles we will pay a daytime fee amounting to 0.24 EUR for each kilometer. In the case of 4 and more axles the charge will amount 0.37 EUR for each kilometer. The prices grow as the number of axles rises and the emission class declines.
In the Netherlands, the use of public roads is free of charge except for two tunnels: Kil and Westerschelde. The tolls for these sections are charged in the form of the Eurovignette. In the first tunnel, the charges depend on the height of a vehicle with charges being 1.45 EUR for vehicles up to 2.3 m and 3.8 EUR for higher vehicles. In the second tunnel, for a vehicle longer than 12 m and higher than 3 m the basic rate totals 25 EUR.
France introduced some significant changes this year. On 16 January 2017 the law enters into force according to which each driver entering Paris must hold a vignette. The charge will depend on a vehicle’s class as well as the EURO emission class. Additionally, in the case the level of pollutant emission exceeds the alert value, owners of vehicles may expect some preferential treatment, depending on a vehicle’s class. Starting 1 July 2017, vehicles with the EURO III emission class will be banned from entering Paris. From now on, entering and driving around the capital of France will be subject to a fee of 4.18 EUR. Currently, the cheapest motorway section in France is the one between Montauban and Toulouse, which is subject to a charge of 10.4 EUR. The most expensive motorway connects Nice and Paris and costs 239.4 EUR. The difference in prices amounts to 229 EUR.
Poland applies the viaToll system. The most expensive motorway in our country is still A2, the use of which is now subject to a fee of 218 PLN for the entire route length. The toll applicable on the A4 motorway amounts to 53 PLN for the entire motorway section, whereas on the A1 motorway, drivers of the 4th category have to pay 0.38 PLN per one kilometer. The whole section of the motorway is thus subject to a fee of ca. 125 PLN. The motorway tolls may be paid by cash in all toll collection areas and by card in selected points.
Charges increased – undeniable fact
In 2017 the road charges applicable in Poland and other European countries increased. It may be directly associated with the focus on environmental protection. Vehicles with older emission systems are not only subject to higher charges but may be also banned from entering individual cities or motorway sections in Europe.
Starting this year, Austria adopted the amendment to the Act on Combating Wage and Social Dumping. What does it mean for Polish carriers?
The minimum wage for drivers performing cabotage in Austria has been effective in the country for years. Two years ago the provisions of the act were tightened up and the act imposed a number of obligations on carriers which, when not fulfilled, are subject to high penalties. Another change, introduced on 1 January this year, increased the minimum wage by 2.7%. The modification of provisions provides a great opportunity to recall what the companies conducting cabotage activities in Austria should see to and what penalties may result from oversights.
Minimum wage in Austria
The minimum wage in Austria is specified in the Act on Combating Wage and Social Dumping. From 1 January this year it amounts to 8.49 EUR for delegated employees and 10.50 EUR for seconded employees. How is an employee assigned to the above groups? The former employees work under the supervision of the Polish employer incurring a full risk associated with their work. The second group of employees is put at the disposal of a company operating in Austria, they are subject to its instructions and use the means provided by such a company.
Which documents do you need to prepare?
The observance of the provisions is safeguarded by the Coordination Center for illegal employment of workers operating by the Ministry of Finance. At the latest one week before the cabotage, the completed A1 form must be sent to the Center via e-mail. In case of an inspection, a driver should present a copy of the form together with a proof of insurance and received remuneration – for example a written contract of employment or a bank transfer confirmation.
What penalties do the companies face?
For failure to comply with the above obligations, the Coordination Center may impose high penalties on our company. The absence of documents is subject to a penalty of 500-1000 EUR, whereas a failure to report an employee to a penalty totaling as much as 10,000 EUR. Too low remuneration may lead to a penalty of 1000-20,000 EUR if it concerns not more than three employees and in the case of a bigger group of employees – even 50,000 EUR. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that the above penalties are imposed only on those companies in which the repeated infringement of the provisions was discovered.