Recently, the prohibition of loading and unloading by the driver before a medium or long distance transport of goods by road was approved. The Administration and shippers’ associations argued that the driver “carries on his back his main activity of driving with hundreds of kilometers of travel per service and where road safety and that of the driver himself can be seriously affected by the performance of an activity that does not correspond to him”.
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 are prohibited from loading and unloading operations when the MMA of the vehicle they are driving exceeds 7.5 tons”.
After its approval at the beginning of September, official statements have been issued with explanatory character that we would like to include 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. The driver would only be allowed to load or unload such supports in the case of split load transport, as provided for in the exceptions to the general rule of prohibition of loading and unloading.
- Exceptions to the law as follows:
- Moving and storage transportation.
- Transport in tank vehicles.
- Transport of aggregates or that carried out in tipping vehicles or vehicles equipped with a crane or other devices inherent to the vehicle for loading and unloading operations.
- Transport in vehicle carriers and cranes for roadside assistance.
- Breakbulk transportation between the point of distribution and the point of sale. And they clarify that breakbulk transportation is understood to be that which requires prior handling, groupage, classification or other similar operations.
- The cases established by regulations, provided that the driver’s safety is guaranteed.
The company to which the driver of the vehicle belongs, as well as the shipper, consignor, intermediary and consignee are responsible for compliance with the law. The infringement will be penalized with a fine of between 4001 € and 6000 €.
With the new law, the carrier could be in charge of the loading and unloading operations as long as it is in writing, they are not performed by the driver of the vehicle and they are charged as a service apart from the transport. And under no circumstances may a self-employed person continue to act as a driver and load or unload the goods.