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:
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 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.
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.”
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.
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:
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 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. (…)”
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.