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Rules governing access to the profession

In December 2009 new regulations modernising the rules governing road transport were adopted, including Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009. The new regulations foresee a transitional period until 3 December 2011, during which the old legislation remains applicable.

As of 4 December 2011 admission to the occupation of road haulage operator and road passenger transport operator in the European Union is governed by Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 . This regulation replaces Directive 96/26/EC  as amended by Directive 98/76/EC .

These rules cover road hauliers using vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes maximum authorised mass and commercial road passenger transport undertakings operating vehicles with seats for 9 passengers, including the driver, or more.

According to the regulation, operators must fulfill four criteria to access the profession:

  • Good repute criterion, which shall ensure the adequate entrepreneurial ethical conduct. Manipulating a tachograph, for example, would be considered a serious infringement leading to the loss of the good repute.
  • Financial standing, which requires operators to have available capital assets every annual accounting year of at least € 9.000 for the first vehicle and € 5.000 for each additional vehicle.
  • Professional competence, which assesses the practical knowledge and aptitude of professionals in the sector by means of an obligatory exam with common arrangements, marking and certificates.
  • To have an effective and stable establishment in a Member State.

A transport manager who is responsible for the respect of the road transport legislation enforced must be designated by each road transport operator.

National authorities have to carry out regular checks to ensure that undertakings continue to satisfy these four criteria. In order to facilitate the monitoring of the road transport undertakings, Member States have to set up national electronic registers which are as of 2013 interconnected (see ERRU) to facilitate the cooperation and exchange of information at European level.

The purpose of these rules is:

  • to achieve greater harmonisation of standards between Member States, particularly as regards levels of financial standing required and the standard of professional competence expected;
  • to facilitate the right of establishment in other Member States and the mutual recognition of professional status;
  • to improve the overall professional standing and quality of road transport;
  • to prevent unscrupulous firms from seeking to gain market share by skimping on safety and working conditions.