22 Mar EU Court of Justice states that penalties for breaching tachograph rules must be proportionate
9 February 2012 – Today, the European Court of Justice, examining the case of a Hungarian truck in transit from Hungary to Romania (Case C-210/10), stated that the penalties for breaching tachograph rules must be proportionate and therefore are not legitimate if imposed regardless of severity.
The Hungarian controlling authority imposed a penalty of 332€ after a control on the tachograph that did not found any irregularity or anomaly, just the fact that one of the recording disks did not record the mileage upon arrival. Hence the appeal. The Court was asked to verify whether there was proportionality in the sanctions regime applied in Hungary.
The Court explained that Regulation n. 561/2006 clearly states that sanctions are effective, proportionate, dissuasive and non-discriminatory, but does not contain more detailed rules about how to establish national sanctions, nor provides any explicit criterion with respect to the assessment of proportionality.
Nevertheless, in the absence of harmonization of sanctions at EU level, Member States may choose the ones they estimate appropriate, but must exercise that competence consistently with EU law and its general principles, in this case, in particular, with the principle of proportionality. Since the Hungarian legislation provides for a lump sum penalty for any violation of the provisions relating to the use of the record, without distinguishing between the nature and seriousness of different violations, it is disproportionate to the objectives of the Union.
Find here the link to the judgment of the Court.