Drivers' hours changes from August 2020

Updated: Oct 28



From August 2020 there have been some changes to EU drivers’ hours rules and regulations, which was implemented by Regulation EU/2020/154 coming into force. The following is a breakdown of the key changes, although primarily the changes will only affect drivers carrying out operations in mainland Europe. The text in italics is extracted directly from the

legislation.


Return ‘home’ every 4 weeks


  • Transport undertakings shall organise the work of drivers in such a way that the drivers are able to return to the employer’s operational centre where the driver is normally based and where the driver’s weekly rest period begins, in the Member State of the employer’s establishment, or to return to the drivers’ place of residence, within each period of four consecutive weeks, in order to spend at least one regular weekly rest period or a weekly rest period of more than 45 hours taken in compensation for reduced weekly rest period

  • However, where the driver has taken two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods in accordance with paragraph 6, the transport undertaking shall organise the work of the driver in such a way that the driver is able to return before the start of the regular weekly rest period of more than 45 hours taken in compensation

  • The undertaking shall document how it fulfils that obligation and shall keep the documentation at its premises in order to present it at the request of control authorities


This change should not really affect GB domestic drivers but will have an effect on drivers involved in international transport. The current rules say that provided weekly rest periods are taken in compliance with the legislation a driver could be working on international transport for many weeks (the only element of compliance is having the full regular weekly rest period away from the vehicle).


This change will mean that drivers must return to their home at least once in every four consecutive weeks. This will stop operators organising drivers to be away, on the road, for more than a month at a time.


Ban on regular weekly rest periods taken in vehicle

  • The regular weekly rest periods and any weekly rest period of more than 45 hours taken in compensation for previous reduced weekly rest periods shall not be taken in a vehicle

  • They shall be taken in suitable gender friendly accommodation with adequate sleeping and sanitary facilities

  • Any costs for accommodation outside the vehicle shall be covered by the employer


This is something that has been in legislation at least since 2006 but until recently had not been fully enforced in all member states. This change makes the legislation clear about not taking full regular weekly rests in the cab of the vehicle. It has also added the requirement that the employer pay for additional accommodation, this additional burden not seen in legislation before.


New definition of ‘non-commercial’ carriage of goods


The new definition:

  • any carriage by road, other than carriage for hire or reward or on own account, for which no direct or indirect remuneration is received and which does not directly or indirectly generate any income for the driver of the vehicle or for others, and which is not linked to professional or commercial activity


This makes it clear that even where no renumeration is received, it will be classed as ‘commercial’ if the carriage of goods can be ‘linked’ to any professional ‘activity’ and anyone has benefited. Motorsport or equestrian enthusiasts who have sponsorship on their car or horse transport may have to be a bit more careful in creating indirect income for others.


Additional flexibility for rest periods for drivers on international carriage of goods


  • In any two consecutive weeks a driver shall take at least:

> (a) two regular weekly rest periods; or

> (b) one regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period of at least 24 hours

  • A weekly rest period shall start no later than at the end of six 24-hour periods from the end of the previous weekly rest period

  • By way of derogation from the first subparagraph, a driver engaged in international transport of goods may, outside the Member State of establishment, take two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods provided that the driver in any four consecutive weeks takes at least four weekly rest periods, of which at least two shall be regular weekly rest periods

  • For the purpose of this paragraph, a driver shall be considered to be engaged in international transport where the driver starts the two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods outside the Member State of the employer’s establishment and the country of the drivers’ place of residence

  • Any reduction in the weekly rest period shall be compensated by an equivalent period of rest taken en bloc before the end of the third week following the week in question

  • Where two reduced weekly rest periods have been taken consecutively in accordance with the third subparagraph of paragraph 6, the next weekly rest period shall be preceded by a rest period taken as compensation for those two reduced weekly rest periods

  • The regular weekly rest periods and any weekly rest period of more than 45 hours taken in compensation for previous reduced weekly rest periods shall not be taken in a vehicle. They shall be taken in suitable gender friendly accommodation with adequate sleeping and sanitary facilities

  • Any costs for accommodation outside the vehicle shall be covered by the employer


The first part of this is the standard ‘weekly rest’ rule, i.e. in any two consecutive weeks at least one regular weekly rest and no more than six 24 hour periods between the end of one weekly rest and the start of another.


After this the changes start, and again will only affect drivers involved in international transport. The main change is that a driver may have two reduced weekly rest periods in consecutive weeks provided in any four consecutive weeks the driver also has two full regular weekly rests.


The criteria which a driver should meet to avail himself/herself of this is as follows:

  • The driver is in a member state other than the EU state their employer is based (or the EU state the driver lives in) when each of the weekly rests starts

and

  • The compensation for the reduced rest is taken ‘en bloc’ by the end of the third week.

Again, there is further confirmation that rest periods over 45 hours must not be taken in the vehicle and that any additional accommodation must be suitable and paid for by the employer.


New provisions for rests and breaks for drivers when journeys involve transport by

ferry or rail


  • where a driver accompanies a vehicle, which is transported by ferry or train and takes a regular daily rest period or a reduced weekly rest period, that period may be interrupted not more than twice by other activities not exceeding one hour in total. During that regular daily rest or reduced weekly rest period the driver shall have access to a sleeper cabin, bunk or couchette at their disposal

  • With regard to regular weekly rest periods, that derogation shall only apply to ferry or train journeys where:

> (a) the journey is scheduled for 8 hours or more; and

> (b) the driver has access to a sleeper cabin in the ferry or on the train


This remains very similar to the 2006 Legislation with two additions:


To include a ferry crossing or a rail journey as part of a regular weekly rest period (as opposed to just a daily rest period), the journey must be scheduled for at least 8 hours (1) and the driver must have access to a sleep cabin (2).





New requirements to keep full records of all other work


  • A driver shall record as other work any time spent as described in point (e) of Article 4 as well as any time spent driving a vehicle used for commercial operations that do not fall within the scope of this Regulation, and shall record any periods of availability. This record shall be entered either manually on a record sheet or printout or by use of manual input facilities on recording equipment


This, again, appears to be clarification that the driver must keep full records of any work performed inside and outside the vehicle to include driving vehicles under 3.5 tonnes.


* Point (e) of Article 4 refers to ‘Other Work’.


There are some additional articles which relate to ‘rest’ and may be implemented for GB domestic work by the Department for Transport later


  • ‘Provided that road safety is not thereby jeopardised, in exceptional circumstances, the driver may also depart from Article 6(1) and (2) and Article 8(2) by exceeding the daily and weekly driving time by up to one hour in order to reach the employer’s operational centre or the driver’s place of residence to take a weekly rest period

  • Under the same conditions, the driver may exceed the daily and weekly driving time by up to two hours, provided that an uninterrupted break of 30 minutes was taken immediately prior to the additional driving in order to reach the employer’s operational centre or the driver’s place of residence for taking a regular weekly rest period

  • The driver shall indicate the reason for such departure manually on the record sheet of the recording equipment, or on a printout from the recording equipment or in the duty roster, at the latest on arrival at the destination or the suitable stopping place

  • Any period of extension shall be compensated by an equivalent period of rest taken en bloc with any rest period, by the end of the third week following the week in question


There has not been a firm decision by the Department for Transport on whether this will be implemented for drivers based within the UK.


These changes amends the previous Legislation in that they allow the driver, in exceptional circumstances, to extend the driving time by an hour to reach their operating centre or home (provided the driver makes a record of the reason).


It also allows the driver to extend their driving hours by two hours to reach their base or home (as long as they have taken a 30 minute break first). There is no definition of what may amount to an ‘exceptional circumstances’ so there are likely to be discussions ahead on this……………..


*Just to confirm in the Legislation above Article 6 (1) refers to daily driving time, Article 6 (2) refers to weekly driving time

and Article 8 (2) refers to daily and weekly rest periods


Possible upcoming change, in February 2022


  • The driver shall enter in the digital tachograph the symbols of the countries in which the daily working period started and finished

  • From 2 February 2022 the driver shall also enter the symbol of the country that the driver enters after crossing a border of a Member State at the beginning of the driver’s first stop in that Member State. That first stop shall be made at the nearest possible stopping place at or after the border. Where the crossing of the border of a Member State takes place on a ferry or train, the driver shall enter the symbol of the country at the port or station of arrival.

  • Member States may require drivers of vehicles engaged in transport operations inside their territory to add more detailed geographic specifications to the country symbol, provided that those Member States have notified those detailed geographic specifications to the Commission before 1 April 1998

  • It shall not be necessary for drivers to enter the information referred to in the first subparagraph if the tachograph is automatically recording location data in accordance with Article 8


This change looks as though it may be another 18 months before it is implemented and appears to be in line with the implementation of the new smart tachographs and the ability to record border crossings automatically. This change looks to get drivers to make the entry on their tachograph manually as soon as is safely possible when they cross any borders.



Images: Unsplash

CE Transport Law | Specialists in UK road transport law 
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