More flexible EU drivers hours proposed
A more flexible approach to European Union drivers hours is planned.
The proposal would see coach drivers in the EU allowed a 45-minute break to be split into three periods of at least 15 minutes. Further, it has also been proposed that drivers who have driven a limited number of hours and approaching the end of a duty should be allowed to continue for up to two hours.
It is expected that the ability to reduce weekly rest where drivers have been on duty and driving with a reduced schedule, would increase the efficiency of the industry and attract more drivers.
“A more flexible approach to scheduling weekly rest would be more beneficial to addressing both driver shortages and making the industry more attractive to entrants” – Andy Warrender, RHA Operations Manager for Coaches
Andy Warrender, RHA Operations Manager for Coaches, said: “A more flexible approach to scheduling weekly rest would be more beneficial to addressing both driver shortages and making the industry more attractive to entrants.
“This would take out the kind of anomaly where a driver who has driven only a few hours each day, maybe less than ten hours in a week, is compelled to rest for 45 hours at the end of that week because the duties have been spread over the course of five or six days.”
Also proposed is the extension of the 12-day rule (which allows coach drivers on international tours to work up to 12 consecutive daily duties) to also cover journeys solely within one country. However, this change would benefit a comparatively small number of UK operators directly.
While the proposal does not impact the UK directly, if brought in they will apply to drivers on international journeys and may have an influence on future proposals domestically.
“…we have concerns about the proposed changes to rest breaks within a driver’s working day to three lots of 15 minutes within a period of continuous driving” – Phil Smith, CPT Coaching Manager
Phil Smith, CPT Coaching Manager, said: “Overall, we broadly agree with the European Commission’s proposals for practical revisions to the EU’s driving hours regulations. We have campaigned for many years with the IRU for drivers’ hours rules to be more tailored to coach operations.
“While we support the extension of the 12-day rule to include the home country where the coach is based, we have concerns about the proposed changes to rest breaks within a driver’s working day to three lots of 15 minutes within a period of continuous driving.
“In terms of the reduced daily rest proposals, we are consulting with our members to consider this proposal.”
A date for a decision on these proposals has yet to be set.
CPT is currently working on driver hours reforms for the UK. Its working group is due to report its findings to the CPT Coach commission in early July.