Blind spot rules said to be unworkable

By Alex Dahm24 March 2021

Nowhere much to apply a 300 mm diameter sticker on the side of this low-loader combination There is nowhere much to apply a 300 mm diameter sticker on the side of this trailer, or the rear for that matter, and also part of the new requirement

Talks are underway between the European Commission and French authorities over the country’s controversial introduction of rules on “blind spot” safety stickers for road transport.

The new rules – which make such stickers mandatory for all trucks travelling on French roads – came into force on 1 January 2021, although international vehicles were given until 1 April to comply.

Both ESTA (European Association of Abnormal Road Transport and Cranes) and the IRU (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 trucks and buses must be fitted with three stickers, 30 centimetres in size, one at the rear and one on each side of the vehicle. Transport companies have pointed out that this is impossible for large numbers of vehicles, for example, 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 which 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 further information is expected before the end of the March.

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.”

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