Member States are encouraged to apply the following measures to facilitate the road transport operations carried out in the exceptional circumstances created by the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
DISCLAIMER: This overview of measures was prepared by the Commission services and does not commit the European Commission. Only the Court of Justice of the European Union is competent to authoritatively interpret Union law.
Driver cards (tachograph)
Issuance of a temporary driver card under Article 26(4) of Regulation (EU) No 165/2014
The Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made it difficult for Ukrainian drivers carrying out transport operations in the EU to return to their home country to renew driver cards due to expire. Others may be unable to get a driver card for reasons beyond their control, such as the national issuing authority in Ukraine not functioning as usual. In such cases, their status is comparable to that of a driver without ‘normal residence’ in a Member State or an AETR contracting party, and in light of the exceptional circumstances, Member States may grant a temporary driver card to these drivers.
It is advisable that Member States issuing temporary driver cards continue to check (via TACHOnet) that no other card has been issued to the drivers in question in recent weeks.
Driving and rest times
The transport of basic supplies to Ukraine, such as food, medicines, hygiene products, clothes, blankets, torches, etc., as well as the transport of Ukrainian refugees to EU Member States, can be considered as “emergency and rescue operations” under Article 3(d) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006. These types of operation are exempt from the provisions on driving times, breaks and rest periods of drivers set out in that Regulation, and from the provisions on the use of the tachograph set out in Regulation (EU) 165/2014. These transport operations do therefore not present a temporary exception.
Article 14 of the Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 allows Member States to grant, in urgent cases, temporary exceptions from the application of certain requirements on driving and rest times for drivers involved in transport operations carried out in exceptional circumstances.
When exemptions are applied, road safety must never be compromised.
In compliance with Article 6(2)(a) of Directive 1999/62/EC, read in conjunction with Article 7(4) of the same Directive, Member States may apply reduced rates or exemptions from the payment of tolls or user charges for vehicles used for certain purposes, including for emergency services.
Given the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Commission services are of the opinion that transporting humanitarian aid to Ukraine can be considered as an emergency service within the meaning of Article 6(2) (a) of the Directive.
The Commission services consider that no Community licence or transport authorisation is needed for the carriage of medicinal products, appliances, equipment and other articles required for medical care to Ukraine or for Ukrainian refugees.
This follows from Article 1(5)(e) of Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009, which provides that the carriage of such goods intended for relief in response to an emergency, as well as empty journeys made in connection this, shall not be subject to a Community licence and shall be exempt from any requirement for a transport authorisation.
This derogation also applies to cabotage operations which should be unrestricted in accordance with Article 8(6) of the Regulation.