New driving and rest time changes agreed

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The European Parliament has agreed on a new draft bill, to change driving times and rest periods for professional drivers.

Under the new legislation, drivers will have at least two full days off every two weeks and a longer rest period each day. The new rules clarify the existing regulations and bring the practices of the different EU Member States closer together.

Jacques Barrot, commission vice-president responsible for transport said: “Opening up new markets has to go hand-in-hand with rules that apply to everyone to ensure fair working conditions. These European social rules create new rights for workers and protect against social dumping.”

The new legislation complements the working time legislation and strengthens the social rules in the road transport sector. Member States will still be free to apply even stricter rules in the case of road transport carried out entirely within their own territory, but they will not be allowed to fall short of the minimum rules laid down in the European legislation.

The new measures will reduce the amount of maximum driving time for professional drivers. At present they can drive for up to 74 hours a week. Under the new measures, no professional driver in Europe will be allowed to drive for more than 56 hours a week.

It is expected that the Council will shortly approve this new legislative package following the agreement reached with the European Parliament on 6 December

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