Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-04-11-Speech-1-146"

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"Mr President, if we wish to bring about genuine change in the current situation on Europe’s roads, we need to create, for the various modes of transport, the level playing field to which reference is repeatedly made, yet which has remained, to date, little more than a catchphrase. Today’s two draft reports, on social legislation relating to road transport and on the monitoring of its implementation, will play a key role in this regard. If we were to succeed in using European legislation to ensure that practices relating to driving and rest periods, which are often nothing short of scandalous, are conducted in a more orderly fashion, this would inevitably mean that the costs of employing people to work on the roads and on the railways would become more comparable, and that would be quite something. Yet our aim is not and must not be to content ourselves with laws that exist only on paper. Compliance with this legislation must be monitored, and such monitoring must be made possible. The second of these two concerns can be addressed by means of digital tachographs that are less vulnerable to tampering, yet what will then be needed is for the national police forces to monitor these devices by means of systematic road-side checks. It will also be necessary to ensure compliance with driving and rest periods. Important as it is to ensure that framework regulations relating to driving times in road and rail transport are brought into line, the two Markov reports pursue a further goal, namely road safety. Far too many accidents are caused by tired drivers, and measures must be taken to curb this problem. An out-of-control 40-tonne lorry is a dangerous weapon, and moving bombs of this kind must not be tolerated. The Member States must put in place effective checks to remedy this dangerous situation. In this context, I am particularly concerned to see that the Presidency, or at least its ministers, is not present at today’s debate, even though it acts as the representative of the Member States. It may well be the case that Luxembourg has imposed mandatory rest periods for ministers, yet I am more inclined to think that the problem lies elsewhere. Debates in this House on legislative texts are being held at ever-later hours, and we would do well to break this habit. Perhaps the Council would then be present at debates such as the one we are holding today."@en1

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