Address accumulated driver fatigue & improve road safety! The ETF wants stricter driving and rest time rules for truck, bus and coach drivers

2018-Feb-18

Starting with today, the ETF will lobby for a total change in the driving and rest time rules. We demand for:

a) A maximum limit of 8 hours of driving per day, allowing a 9 hour day of driving only twice per week
b) Breaks of 60 minutes, every 4 hours of driving time. The 60 minutes may be taken in two slots of 30 minutes each
c) No more than 48 hours of driving per week, and no more than 80 hours of driving per period of 2 weeks
d) Total ban on the weekly rest periods spent in the vehicle, to include the reduced weekly rest of 24 hours

This in response to our growing concerns that the EU Institutions in charge with the revision of the EU driving and rest time rules start overlooking the safety of drivers, of passengers and of road users.

The ETF urges the EU Institutions to revise the driving and rest regulation in such way as to effectively address accumulated driver’s fatigue and the poor safety record of road commercial transport, both passenger and freight.

To put all this into context…

… On 31 May, with the launch of the Mobility Package, the European Commission proposed more flexibility the way the road transport companies will be distributing driver rest time periods, of 24 and 45 hours, throughout the month. The EC proposal gave green light to 20 consecutive days of driving with only two days off in between, while under the current rules a driver has at least three days off every two weeks.

On top of this, responding to the bus and coach operators lobby, members of the European Parliament – one of the three main actors in the EU decision making process – are now considering introducing a special regime for road passenger transport. A 12-day period of continuous driving without any day off, a 16-hour day of work, postponing the untaken rest periods for 13 weeks to respond to season peak, these are only some of the operators’ demands. At its turn, the transport ministers of the EU Member States are discussing the possibility to increase the driving time by more than 20 hours for the first 3 weeks of a rolling month.

The ETF warns! Regrettably, the current rules can barely tackle the high levels of driver fatigue, can barely prevent road accidents involving trucks, buses and coaches! The ETF cannot accept for policy makers to deliberately opt for longer driving periods and longer working days for professional drivers. Allez! We must bring road safety and driver health in the centre of the debate!

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