New coach driver hours rules agreed
New drivers’ hours and rest time rules for European driving have been agreed by the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN).
The amendments to the rules mean that coach tourism drivers can, in addition to the current rules, split their 45-minute break into two breaks of at least 15 minutes. On journeys that are six days or longer, these drivers can, once per trip, continue their trip for one additional hour and recuperate the break after. They will also be able to drive longer national tours of up to 12 days, which are currently only possible for international trips.
“This is a major win for the EU’s tourism sector” – IRU Director of EU Advocacy, Raluca Marian
IRU Director of EU Advocacy, Raluca Marian, said: “This is a major win for the EU’s tourism sector. More importantly, it’s a major win for coach tourism drivers, who are finally given rules meant for the specificities of their profession, not that of their truck driver colleagues, as is currently the case.
“It’s now in the hands of the plenary, and later on the official trilogue with the Council, to ensure that coach tourism drivers are given the choice to organise their breaks based on the nature of their work and the needs of their passengers, prioritising safety above all else.
“Beyond the harm being done to coach drivers’ wellbeing, the current rules are holding back Europe’s tourism sector, preventing the safest and most environmentally friendly form of collective passenger transport from prospering.”
The change in legislation follows the European Commission’s recognition in May 2023 that the current coach driver rules are not suited to the occasional passenger transport sector, as they only reflect the needs of the truck driver profession, and submitted a promising proposal.
The next step for the introduction of this new legislation is a vote in the Parliamentary procedure in the plenary in December.
Raluca Marian said: “The coach driver file needs to be concluded in the Parliament and Council this year, allowing for the trilogue institutional negotiations to be completed by the end of February, and the law going into effect already in 2024. Coach drivers cannot wait any longer. They deserve rules designed for their work. It’s the bare minimum.”