State of play of the authorisation procedure for class O1 and O2 vehicles in the Union

State of play of the authorisation procedure for class O1 and O2 vehicles in the Union

Directive 2007/46/EC and now Regulation (EU) 2018/858, which came into force on 01 September 2020, set out the approval procedure for all classes of vehicles in a uniform way for all the Member States. Unfortunately, this legislation failed to harmonise the authorisation provisions for vehicle classes O1 and O2 across the Union. For example, there are databases in France, the Netherlands and Austria which must be inserted manually, and at great expense, by the manufacturers of vehicles for export into the existing databases of Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).

Moreover, vehicles can be marketed in, for example, Hungary and Romania only once they have been presented, prior to authorisation, for a technical check upon payment of a fee. In this case, it is not critical whether the vehicles to be authorised have a KBA type approval.

On 30 September 2020, German Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Sven Schulze of the Group of the European People’s Party tabled a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. MEP Schulze asked the Commission “how long will national peculiarities continue to apply to vehicle authorisation for O1/O2-approved vehicles, in addition to the COC (certificate of conformity)?” and “will there be harmonised speed limit rules for all the Member States?”

The German Representative also enquired “is a central database being set up to serve as a vehicle register which can be accessed by all manufacturers and authorising authorities across the Union, thereby enabling a simple authorisation procedure in all the Member States?”

On 24 November, Commissioner Thierry Breton, responsible for the Internal Market, responded on behalf of the European Commission. In his answer, he stated that “it is important to note that the provisions and technical requirements for the type-approval and placing on the market of the vehicle of category O (trailers) were already harmonised in the directive 2007/46/EC which was replaced by Regulation (EU) 2018/858 on 01 September 2020”.

Commissioner Breton explained that “all relevant provisions for the type-approval of trailers, including a harmonised template for the certificate of conformity (CoC), were taken over in the new Regulation, this means that the rules have been harmonised and are applied in a uniform manner across the Union”. He further clarified that “there is no centralised database where information on vehicles registered in the Union can be accessed” and “it should be noted that approval authorities are required to use the European Type Approval Exchange System (‘ETAES’) in order to make documents pertaining to EU type-approvals, including information about refusal or withdrawal, available to the authorities of the other Member States and the Commission”.

Commissioner Breton reported that “traffic rules, including speed limits, remain a competence of Member States’ authorities” and “these limits are in some cases specific for vehicles towing a trailer”. Finally, he concluded that “the Commission considers that speed limits are more appropriately set by the Member States, be it at national, regional or local level, taking into account the specific circumstances of traffic and infrastructure” and “Member States regularly exchange experiences on all aspects of road safety policy in a European high level group, and reflections are currently ongoing to see how state-of-the-art approaches on speed and speed management could be shared and promoted”.

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