According to the Freight Transport Association’s latest quarterly survey, ‘Periods of Availability’ (PoA) are essential to the success of the Working Time Directive (WTD). Flexibility provided by the regulations permitting ‘Periods of Availability’ continues to be a key ingredient in the way that very many companies have organised their lorry operations.
Property consultants NAI fuller Peiser worked in conjunction with the FTA to carry out the September/October survey, which contacted over 200 companies, representing an estimated 40,000 vehicles and 400,000 staff.
The Directive has reduced the average working week for lorry drivers to an average of 48 hours. However, the operational regulations provide that ‘Periods of Availability’ (PoAs), times when the driver is available for work but not actually working, do not count towards the 48 hour average. Many drivers support the operation of PoAs which have given them the opportunity to maintain earning capability. Vehicle operators have utilised PoAs so as to maintain customer service at this time of driver shortages. Analysis of working time and PoAs has also enabled some operators to review the extent of delays at delivery locations.
Deputy chief executive of teh FTA James Hookham, said: “Our survey shows that the costs of compliance with the Working Time Directive have been kept down by operators making extensive use of the flexibility that the regulations contain. In a year when fuel costs have gone up by almost ten per cent and look to stay high, these flexibilities have been a life-saver for many operators.”
He also goes on to say: “It is absolutely essential that should the Government come to review the operation of the Directive, the flexibility provided by the regulations must be maintained. Failure to do so would result in higher costs for operators, lower wages for drivers and an unnecessary reduction in freight transport efficiency.” The survey confirmed that the industry had successfully adopted the new regulations.