Operators are still likely to be subject to laws such as drivers’ hours, Driver CPC and O-licensing, transport lawyers have said following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
James Backhouse, director at Backhouse Jones Solicitors, said hauliers may still have to follow most European regulations post-Brexit even if they do not plan on operating internationally, as the government will likely translate them into UK law.
He said the Driver CPC will probably remain in place as it covered by the European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) – the set of rules that many European countries outside of the EU have adopted and the UK is a signatory to.
Laura Newton, solicitor at Rothera Sharp, said: “EU rules would still apply to UK drivers in the EU, so CPC qualifications and use of tachographs will be necessary for international journeys in any event. I can’t envisage that international operators and drivers would welcome working to a dual set of rules.”
Drivers’ hours and tachograph rules are applied in the UK through the Transport Act 1968 and there would have to be an amendment to this Act to remove the requirement to comply, said Tim Ridyard, road transport solicitor at Woodfines Solicitors.
“It is inconceivable that there will be any change here – EEA countries and AETR countries apply these rules despite not being Member States. Again, there will no appetite to remove rules that enhance safety, in my view,” Ridyard added.
Ridyard added it seemed improbable that the government would remove the requirement to comply with O-licensing rules under the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995, since they are safety-related.
“It seems inconceivable that there would be any change in our basic domestic legislation as a result of Brexit. There would need to be a desire to weaken or remove its provisions,” he added.
But Backhouse warned that there could be a shift in working time rules, currently covered by the European Working Time Directive, along with the right to carry out work in EU countries could disappear if the UK is no longer subject to cabotage rules.
“If you want to operate in Europe, then you would have to follow EU law,” Backhouse warned operators.