The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled on a question referred by the Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy concerning the interpretation of Article 15 (7) of the Road Transport Recording Equipment Regulation. The question was whether a driver of a vehicle should be able to present the registration forms for that day and for the previous 28 days, at the request of the supervisory authorities.
THE CONTEXT OF THE CASE The question referred to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling was raised in two cases before the Court of Florence (Italy) concerning the facts of 2013, which is why the central legal point of the case is the Regulation on the registration of road transport equipment. In 2014, this Regulation was replaced by the Tachograph Regulation – however, this is not relevant to the case principle.
The purpose of the reference for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU was to clarify whether Article 15 (7) should be interpreted as meaning that, in the case of the driver of a vehicle, it provides for a single general conduct, with the consequence that in the event of non-compliance , the driver commits a single offense and must be subject to a single penalty or if that article, by applying a consecutive sentence, can lead to as many offenses and penalties as the number of days for which the record sheets for the specified period (the day in question and the previous 28 days) cannot be presented.
CJEU INTERPRETATION The CJEU considered that Article 15 (7) provides for only one obligation covering the whole period and not several separate obligations for each of the days in question or for each of the corresponding records. Therefore, non-compliance with the obligation imposed by Article 15 (7) constitutes a single infringement consisting in the impossibility of presenting all or part of these 29 registration sheets at the time of the inspection.
The CJEU therefore found that such an infringement should give rise to a single sanction, which should be calculated on the basis of the criteria set out in Article 19 of the Regulation on driving time and rest periods. That Regulation provides that Member States are to provide for penalties for infringements of the Regulation on recording equipment in road transport and of the Regulation on driving time and rest periods, which must be effective and proportionate to the infringement.
As regards any infringement of Article 15 (7) of the Road Transport Recording Equipment Regulation, the statement of reasons for the judgment provides that the penalty should reflect the seriousness of the infringement, which increases according to the number of registration sheets which the driver does not may occur, as such a violation prevents the effective monitoring of drivers’ working conditions for several days and the observance of road safety for several days.
In accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/403 of 18 March 2016, an infringement of Article 36 of the Tachograph Regulation constitutes a very serious infringement.
Therefore, in future, the police will have to consider the failure to provide the information provided for in Article 36 of the Tachograph Regulation as a breach covering the whole period and will calculate the fine on the basis of proportionality,