Freight News, Road

EU parliamentarians draw up new drivers hours rules

[ January 22, 2020   //   ]

A European Parliament committee has approved a deal to reform the road transport sector with revised rules for posting of drivers, drivers’ rest times and better enforcement of cabotage rules.

The agreement retains existing limits on cabotage of three operations within seven days, but in order to tackle fraud, vehicle tachographs will be used to register border-crossings.

To prevent “systematic cabotage”, there will also be a cooling-off period of four days before more cabotage operations can be carried out within same country with the same vehicle.

To fight the use of letterbox companies, road haulage businesses will need to have substantial activities in the member state in which they are registered and the new rules will also require trucks to return to the company’s operational centre every eight weeks.

Operators using light commercial vehicles of over 2.5 tonnes will also be subject to EU rules and would need to equip vehicles with tachographs.

New  rules on posting of drivers stipulate that they apply to cabotage and international transport operations, excluding transit, bilateral operations and bilateral operations with one extra loading or unloading allowed in each direction – or zero on the way out and two on return.

Operators will have to organise schedules so that drivers in international freight transport can return home at regular intervals (every three or four weeks depending on the work schedule).

The mandatory regular weekly rest cannot be taken in the truck cab and, if it is taken away from home, the company must pay for accommodation costs.

In exceptional cases, new rules will allow drivers to exceed the driving time under strict limitations to reach home to take their weekly rest, but only when they are very close to the home base.

The deal will now need to be approved by EU ministers and then by the European Parliament as a whole to enter into force.

The rules on posting will apply 18 months after the entry into force of the legal act but those on rest times, including the return of drivers, will apply 20 days after publication of the act. Rules on return of trucks and other changes to market access rules will apply 18 months after the entry into force of act on market access.