Trade Unions and Drivers for Safer Roads in Europe

An ETF project on fatigue in bus, coach and truck drivers

Road safety is one of the key priorities of the EU Institutions. The European Commission set the ambitious target to halve the number of road deaths between 2010 and 2020 but unfortunately, progress made towards this goal has been slow. Keeping roads safe is largely dependent on the working conditions and the resting conditions of professional drivers in charge of heavy-duty passenger and freight vehicles.

The driver’s profession is today more stressful and dangerous than it once was. Fatigue makes it harder for drivers to maintain vigilance, alertness and decision-making capacity in traffic, and this impairs their ability to drive freight and passengers safely to their destination.

Despite this reality, there has been no EU-wide study of driver fatigue for over 15 years. The last one was actually conducted by the ILO in 2005 (“The issues of fatigue and working time in the transport sector”) and conclusions are clear: poor rest conditions and prolonged working time in road transport do lead to sleep deprivation and driver fatigue. This ultimately impacts road safety.

In this context, in January 2020, the ETF started an eighteen-month EU-funded project supported by EVA Akademie. The purpose of the project is to build capacity among the ETF member organisations to address driver fatigue in passenger and freight transport, with their members, with policy-makers, and with employers within the frame of national, company-level and European social dialogue.

Bringing existing national studies and academic work together with hands-on evidence, the aim of the project is to develop the following outcomes:

  • a science-based study for tackling driver fatigue in bus, coach and road freight transport
  • a tool kit for the trade union use to raise awareness on driver fatigue

The ETF will be working together with the German research institute wmp consult in developing the study on driver fatigue.

Four activities involving trade union representatives and professional drivers will be the main contributing factors in developing the project outcome:

  • two workshops – one for passenger and one for freight transport – to get familiar with the specific problematic of fatigue in the two sub-sectors
  • a road transport seminar to test the final draft of the study on driver fatigue and the toolkit
  • a final conference to disseminate the project results to industry stakeholders and EU Institutions

The activities’ target groups are ETF member organisations as well as bus, coach and lorry drivers.

For further information about the project and its activities, please contact the ETF Secretariat at and our project partner EVA Akademie at

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 With financial support from the European Union

Latest news on the project

News June 19, 2020

ETF and ETSC vow to make road safety a reality

ETF endorses recommendations from ETSC’s (European Transport Safety Council) report on how to improve the safety of goods vehicles. Together, we will present a united front to ensure the implementation of these proposals, and work closely together in our fight for road safety, both for professional drivers and road users!

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