25 Sep 2017

ROAD PACKAGE – DETAILS OF PLANNED CHANGES IN REST TIME STANDARDS AND TACHOGRAPHS

On 31 May 2017 the European Commission presented the project of long-awaited transport sector changes.

The most important ones, presented in the so-called Road Package covers the driving and rest time standards (Regulation 561/2006) and the tachograph system (Regulation 165/2014).

 

Please find the most important ones with the appropriate commentary below:

 

  1. CHANGES TO THE REST TIME STANDARDS (RELATED TO REGULATION 561/2006)

 

The current driving and rest time standards were considered correct and necessary to ensure road safety. This means that neither the driving time will be increased nor rest time reduced. However, some rules, especially those related to weekly rest periods, will change in order to make the drivers’ working time more flexible. The rules will also be made more detailed to enable more effective checks.

 

  • The driver will have to take at least two regular and two reduced weekly rest periods in 4 weeks instead of a minimum one regular and one reduced weekly rest period in 2 weeks.

The wording: “6. In any four consecutive weeks a driver shall take at least:

(a) four regular weekly rest periods, or

(b) two  regular  weekly  rest  periods  of  at  least  45  hours  and  two  reduced  weekly  rest periods of at least 24 hours.

 

  • Compensation for weekly rest periods will only be taken together with 45-hour rest periods instead of a rest of at least 9 hours.

The wording: “7. Any rest period taken as compensation for a reduced weekly rest period shall immediately precede or follow a regular weekly rest period of at least 45 hours.”

 

  • Once every 3 weeks a driver should be able to return home

The wording: 8b.A  transport  undertaking  shall  organise  the  work  of  drivers  in  such  a  way  that  the drivers are able to spend at least one regular weekly rest period or a weekly rest of more than 45 hours taken in compensation for reduced weekly rest at home within each period of three consecutive weeks.”

 

Commentary: The intent of these changes is that drivers, in agreement with the employer, will be able to organize their weekly rest periods in a more flexible manner. In practice, this means that it will be easy to plan 3-week routes (and in special cases routes even up to 4 weeks) without having to take a weekly regular rest in the vehicle cab. The need to take the compensation only together with 45-hour rest period will make it unprofitable while on the road. Thanks to these changes regular weekly rest periods with compensations will therefore be planned at the driver’s place of residence.

 

  • The ban on taking the rest period of more than 45 hours in the vehicle cab will be clarified.

Such a ban already follows from the provisions of Regulation 561/2006, but by changing the content of article 8 and by introducing the compulsory taking of compensation only together with 45-hour rest, it will be much easier to enforce by the inspection authorities.

 

The wording: “8a.The regular weekly rest periods and any weekly rest of more than 45 hours taken in compensation for previous reduced weekly rest shall not be taken in a vehicle. They shall be taken in a suitable accommodation, with adequate sleeping and sanitary facilities;

(a) either provided or paid for by the employer, or

(b) at home or at another private location chosen by the driver.

 

 OTHER CHANGES TO REGULATION 561/2006:

 

  1. While on the ferry, you will also be able to take the reduced weekly rest period (24h) – now it is possible to take only a regular daily rest period (11h or 3h + 9h)
  2. Clarification: availability in the crew while driving will be treated as a 45-minute break – this provision is now included in the EC guidelines, but introducing it into Regulation 561/2006 will allow to avoid previous misunderstandings, such as experienced in 2016 when the inspection authorities in France did not respect this guideline for more than six months.

Non-commercial carriage of goods (without tonnage restriction) will be excluded from the scope of Regulation 561. A definition of such carriages will be introduced: “r) “non-commercial carriage” shall mean any road carriage other than by rental, for consideration or self-employed, for which no remuneration is paid and which does not generate any income.”

 

2. DETAILS OF CHANGES IN MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF TACHOGRAPHS (TO REGULATION 164/2014)

 

  • The driver will be required to add an additional country entry after crossing the border

The wording: “7.The driver shall enter in the digital tachograph the symbols of the countries in which the daily working period started and finished as well as where and when the driver has crossed a border in the vehicle on arrival at the suitable stopping place. (…)”

 

  • There will be a change to the “smart tachographs” (mandatory installation date from 15.06.2019), which provides for automatic recording of the location also when crossing borders.

The wording: “every three hours of accumulated driving time and every time the vehicle crosses the border;”

 

The introduction of these changes will greatly facilitate the enforcement by the inspectors of other provisions of the “Mobility Package,” among others the ones concerning the payment of minimum wage for work abroad and control of cabotage conditions.

 

The above legislative initiative will be processed by the Council and the European Parliament in the coming months. The precise deadlines for legislative actions are not known, but on 19 June this year Commissioner Violeta Bulc, at the sitting of the Transport Committee announced that the European Commission would like to conclude all work on the “Mobility Package” by July 2019. The Commissioner also pointed out that the EU Council had already planned 24 meetings on the Mobility Package and would like to present its first draft (after the Commission’s evaluation) in November 2017.

 

The full text of the legislative initiative for the cited provisions is available at: <link>

Individual provisions may be subject to changes as the works on the draft continue.

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