Freight News, Road

Row brews in Brussels as truckers sleep

[ July 17, 2014   //   ]

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) has criticised some EU member states for insisting that drivers take their statutory weekly rest outside their truck cabs. The IRU claims that this is a protectionist measure. It follows France adoption of a law imposing fines of €30,000 on companies, and up to a year’s imprisonment for drivers, who take their weekly rest in sleeper cabs and Belgian legislation imposing fines of up to €1,800 on drivers for similar infringements. IRU described the sanctions as disproportionate and are an attempt to protect national markets.

The issue was raised at a Transport Council working group in late June, when several member states also questioning the legality of the sanctions.

Current EU legislation states that daily and reduced weekly rest periods away from base may be taken in a vehicle, as long as it has suitable sleeping facilities for each driver and the vehicle is stationary but this apparently allows national authorities to interpret what is meant by suitable sleeping facilities. Most trucks used in long distance haulage are fitted with sleeper cabs.

Drivers resting up in ntruck parks and lay bys for long periods are a common sight on the roads of Europe, especially those from eastern Europe. Forcing them to seek a hotel bed for one or more nights could impose significant increased costs on such operators. Given the lack of secure truck parking in much of Europe, many would also object to the security implications of drivers being forced to abandon their vehicles for long periods.

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