Recently, the prohibition of loading and unloading by the driver during medium or long distance road freight transport was approved. The Administration and cargo associations argued that the driver “carries on their shoulders their main activity of driving with hundreds of kilometers of travel per service, where road safety and the driver’s own safety can be seriously affected by performing an activity that does not correspond to them.”
The prohibition of loading and unloading by the driver is specified with the creation in the LOOT of the Thirteenth Additional Provision by Royal Decree-Law 3/2022, which warns that “drivers will be prohibited from performing loading and unloading operations when the GVW of the vehicle they are driving exceeds 7.5 tonnes“.
After its approval in early September, official explanatory statements have been appearing, which we would like to collect below.
- The Ministry of Transport has confirmed that the prohibition also includes the transport of empty pallets, known as pallet exchange, throughout the national territory, as they are considered goods. It would only be allowed for the driver to load or unload these supports in the case of fragmented cargo transport, as provided for in the exceptions to the general rule of loading and unloading prohibition.
- The following are established as exceptions to the law:
- Transport of moving and storage furniture.
- Transport in tankers.
- Transport of aggregates or that carried out in dump trucks or vehicles equipped with cranes or other devices inherent to the vehicle intended to carry out loading and unloading operations.
- Transport in car carriers and road rescue cranes.
- Fragmented cargo transport between the distribution point and the sales point. And they clarify that fragmented cargo transport means that which requires previous manipulation, grouping, classification or similar operations.
- The cases that are established by regulation, as long as driver safety is guaranteed.
Both the company to which the vehicle driver belongs and the shipper, sender, intermediary, and recipient are responsible for compliance with the law. The infraction will be penalized with a fine of between €4001 and €6000.
With the new law, the carrier could take charge of the loading and unloading operations, provided that it is put in writing, not carried out by the vehicle driver, and charged as a service separate from transportation. And under no circumstances can a freelancer continue to act as a driver and load or unload the goods.
The compliance with the law is the responsibility of both the company to which the vehicle driver belongs, as well as the loader, sender, intermediary, and recipient. The infringement will be penalized with a fine of between €4,001 and €6,000.
With the new law, the carrier could take charge of loading and unloading operations as long as it is put in writing, they are not carried out by the vehicle driver and are charged as a separate service from transportation. And under no circumstances may a self-employed worker continue to work as a driver and load or unload the goods.