Use of vehicles hired without drivers: Parliament and Council reach provisional agreement

The European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the proposal during the second trilogue on 26 October 2021.
The revision clarifies the current rules, harmonises the legal framework, and eases the restrictions on the use of such vehicles. Increased flexibility to hire vehicles will make transport operations more efficient and contribute to the smooth functioning of the single market. In addition, hired vehicles tend to be newer, safer, and more environmentally friendly.

Currently, the Directive guarantees the access by haulage companies to hired vehicles only when these are registered in the Member State where the company has its seat.

Under the agreement, Member States will not be allowed to restrict the use on their territory of a vehicle hired by a haulage company established in another Member State, provided that the relevant rules in the Member State of establishment are followed.

As the level of road transport tax varies considerably within the EU, Member States will still be able to restrict, within certain limits, the use of vehicles hired in another Member State by their own companies. These restrictions mainly concern the proportion of hired vehicles registered in another Member State in the fleet of a haulage company, as well as the length of the lease period for a vehicle hired from abroad. The minimum guaranteed lease period for an individual vehicle registered in another Member State is set at 2 months. There will be a maximum backstop possibility of 30 days, if required by national vehicle registration rules.

To improve enforcement competent authorities will have to record the registration numbers of vehicles hired from another Member State in their national electronic registers of road transport undertakings.

The transposition period is 14 months from when the Directive enters into force.

For more information, please see the European Council Press Release.