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
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.