What does the AETR Convention cover?

Transport law


International road haulage is subject to several legal regulations. In practice, many conventions refer to interstate transit, one of them being the European Agreement concerning the work of crews of vehicles engaged in international road transport (AETR for short). What is this regulation and what rules does it introduce for international transport?

AETR Convention

We apply the AETR Convention (French for “Accord Européen sur les Transports Routiers”) to international road transport operations carried out in parts outside of the European Union, countries of the European Economic Area and countries which are parties to the AETR agreement. Generally speaking, it concerns the rules on employing drivers who perform international transport, working time and its recording. Poland joined the AETR in 1971.

At the moment, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Yugoslavia, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Austria and Russia are members of the AETR.

The basic objective of the AETR Convention

Every agreement of an international nature exists to regulate cross-border legal or factual transactions as precisely as possible. This is the case with the AETR Convention, which was created to:

  • increase road safety,
  • promote the development as well as the improvement of international road passenger and freight transport,
  • to regulate the employment conditions in international road transport by the principles of the International Labour Organisation.

What does the AETR Convention regulate?

The AETR Convention stipulates:

  • the minimum age of the driver, which is 18 years – for vehicles with semi-trailers, trailers with a maximum GVW of 7.5 tonnes; 18 or 21 years for other vehicles, but he must have a certificate of professional competence; 21 years for passenger transport by road,
  • the driver’s rest time, his breaks being either 45 minutes or separate periods of at least 15 minutes; the daily rest is 11 hours
    driving time – maximum non-stop driving time of 4.5 hours and maximum daily driving time of 9 hours
  • the obligation to install, use, approve and check the control device every day that a vehicle is driven (the control device – tachograph – records vehicle speed, distance travelled, limitation of vehicle speed, driving time, time of opening the record sheet – disc, breaks in operation, driver and vehicle-specific data)
    obligation on undertakings to monitor driving time,
  • the ban on paying bonuses or supplements to drivers’ fixed wages in respect of the distance travelled or the volume of goods transported.

Each State which has signed the AETR Convention is obliged to ensure that the provisions of this agreement are complied with, in particular through an appropriate level of roadside checks and checks carried out at the premises of undertakings, on an annual basis, covering a large and representative percentage of drivers, undertakings and vehicles of all transport categories falling within the scope of the agreement.

The competent administrative authorities of the Contracting Parties shall organise checks in such a way that:

  • in each calendar year, check at least 1% of the days worked by drivers of vehicles covered by this Agreement. From 1 January 2010, this percentage shall be increased to at least 2% and from 1 January 2012 to at least 3%.
  • at least 15% of the total number of days checked shall be checked at the roadside and at least 25% at the premises of undertakings. From 1 January 2010, at least 30% of the total number of days checked will be checked at the roadside and at least 50% at the premises of undertakings.

Roadside checks include:

  • daily and weekly driving periods, breaks and daily and weekly rest periods;
  • if necessary, the preceding days’ record sheets which should be kept in the vehicle and/or the data stored for the same period on the driver card and/or in the memory of the control device and/or on printouts;
  • the correct functioning of the control device.

Checks must be carried out without discrimination between vehicles, undertakings and drivers on the grounds of the country of origin and regardless of the starting point or destination of the journey or the type of tachograph. In the context of checks at the premises of undertakings, the following will be checked in addition to those checked at the roadside:

  • weekly rest periods and driving periods between these rest periods;
  • twice-weekly limits for driving hours;
  • compensation for weekly rest periods reduced by the provisions of the AETR Convention;
  • use of record sheets and/or data from the vehicle unit and driver card and/or organisation of drivers’ working time.

Within the framework of mutual assistance, the competent authorities of the Contracting Parties shall regularly send each other all available information concerning

  • infringements of this Agreement by foreign nationals and any penalties imposed for such infringements;
  • penalties imposed by a Contracting Party on its nationals for such infringements committed in the territory of another Contracting Party.

In the case of serious infringements, this information should also include details of the penalties applied.

Talk to the author

Andrzej Jakubowski

legal adviser, managing partner

ajakubowski@jczkancelaria.pl +48 792772210

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