Driving restrictions have always been an unresolved issue. Every year associations propose different solutions but no institutional answer has ever arrived.
Being unaware of the driving restrictions calendar has always been a torture for haulers during their routes. Every time they drive in Europe they have to check and organize their workload. An inconvenient that has been talked several times with authorities, but nothing seems to be changed or resolved.
Every year European traffic general managements restrict circulation of heavy trucks or dangerous goods on their roads. However, even if there is no great difference during festive days, there is no common framework establishing times and criteria about mentioned restrictions. This often supposes an inconvenient for transport sector’s professionals who consider these restrictions as a limitation to achieve their business goals.
All the associations and organizations taking care of economic and social interests, as well as the sector member’s safety, consider these measures a limitation in achieving their purposes. This is what Eugeni Mañes, Transcalit association general secretary thinks: “there are traffics restriction blocking return journeys, which supposes a further complication and a limitation of turnover and incomes”. Mañes considers, furthermore, “today the transportation of goods on the road has not a good reputation. The pollution issue has been talked a lot recently, as well as the chance of shipping by train. Using a truck is the only flexible and effective way to ship and our clients use it because it is more effective and faster”.
Considering what he just said, he adds that “today’s governments are deciding on their policies without taking into account the goods road transportation, which is used in more than 90% of the traffics. Security and contaminations are and always will be priorities, but in the end they are paying the same amount of money all the time”. One of the proper measures according to Mañes would be “to establish free corridors in order to avoid these traffics affected by restrictions. Carrying out a decent coordination, not only with European Community states, but also with the same Spanish regions could be a great step forward”. Transcalit’s general secretary affirms that his association, together with other sector associations, is working to establish combined actions in order to get more power to negotiate with institutions and public administrations. He regrets that “each country, according to its necessities, is establishing necessary criteria to manage the traffic”.
Evaristo Magaña, President of the association ASTAC Condal, has an opinion similar to Mañes. He says that the ones who are more damaged are haulers: “leisure, tourism and anything else are preferred in such a way when there are holydays or days off. Tourism is prioritised and transport penalized”. Magaña adds that it is a problem for a “very weak sector”, both at national and community level in the institutions. This is translated into an expensive “difficulty to concretize” any action because it implies a total of 20 days of restrictions. These days have to be added to the list of the days off work, adding up to “almost a month and a half that must be paid to drivers that are not working”. According to the measures necessary to solve the problem, Magaña considers that “due to goods’mobiltiy, determined holidays must be harmonized (a European calendar could be a good solution) as all sectors do”. Regarding the actions carried out to resolve this inconvenient, he affirms that his organization is present in the Catalan Gobernment in “a specific commission that covers the whole year to know which problems have affected the sector. They are advisory commissions but, at last, they decide. We are using dates and fighting in struggle just to be able to reduce the restriction day’s number for what it’s possible”.
In the end, there is an evidence in the transport sector about the circulation calendar’s organization. This must be the base of a future joint action that will allow all the agents involved to create a unified list of criteria and hours that could work as a goal to achieve the highest profits for all implied in this situation starting from drivers, haulers and all the other vehicles moving on the road.