Transport companies have been eagerly awaiting a final decision on a new set of regulations that will fundamentally change how European transport market. The mobility package was initiated by the European Commission and designed to improve the working conditions and safety of drivers. In addition, the innovations are aimed at establishing a fair and productive environment in the European logistics services market.
In July 2020, the final version of the rules of the mobility package was adopted. These regulations will enter into force in February 2022. Starting on 20 August 2020, the first mandatory provisions have been in effect. These provisions cover rest time, returns to base, and driving time extensions.
Mandatory rest for drivers
Drivers must now spend a period of 45 hours per week resting outside the vehicle cabin. Carriers are obliged to provide drivers with proper accommodation and sanitary facilities. The resting place can be adjacent to a vehicle parking lot.
From August 2020, transport service providers are required to review drivers’ work schedules and ensure that drivers return home – i.e. the country where the employer’s enterprise is registered – at least every 4 weeks. Drivers who work abroad for 4 weeks at a time have a 24-hour mandatory rest period for 2 of those 4 weeks.
In addition, within a 4-week period, drivers are required to take a 45-hour rest break in at least 2 of the weeks. A driver who has taken 2 consecutive weeks with reduced (24-hour) rest periods must return home before taking a 45-hour rest period the following week. Previously, the shortened weekly rest break was used every other week.
Along with the new provisions, drivers whose trucks are loaded next to a ferry or train may rest in ferry or train cabin subject to the availability of a berth. When several people comprise a driving team, breaks are also allowed in the cabin of the vehicle. A driver in such a team is prohibited from participating in vehicle operation while taking a break. A driver’s rest period should not exceed 1 hour.
Returns to base
Now, the rules regarding drivers’ breaks have also been supplemented with a rule regarding the organization of the driver's work schedule and a mandatory return to the home country to use vacation days. This fact must be documented by a tachograph record, the driver's work schedule, or other paperwork.
Driving time extensions
As of the end of August, a new rule has also been added regarding exceeding daily or weekly driving limits by 2 hours. The driver may use the additional 2 hours in order to reach the driver’s place of residence or the employer's operations center in order to rest there. However, to take advantage of the extra 2-hour allowance, a 30-minute break is required first along with a documented reason.
“The idea behind the mobility package is to update and standardize regulations in the European road transport sector. The regulations have led to numerous disputes and raised many questions, as they change the organization of drivers’ work and rest, travel rules, minimum wages, as well as transport companies’ operations and use of tachographs,” says Vitali Eremenco, Deputy COO for Road Freight Transportation at AsstrA. “However, there are both supporters and opponents. For drivers, this is an opportunity to take advantage of better working conditions. For carriers, there are higher financial costs. Since the first regulations have already entered into force, each participant in this situation will have to adapt. AsstrA is closely monitoring the situation.”