Driving and rest time in road passenger transport

As part of the Mobility Package, the European Commission will soon present a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council on driving and rest time in bus and coach passenger transport.

The Mobility Package’s current driving and rest time rules have the potential to guarantee a decent work environment in road passenger transport. However, in its proposal, the European Commission aims to propose a revision for more flexible rules for drivers carrying out the occasional transport of passengers by bus or coach. The legislative proposal is foreseen to be published early 2023.

Their revision of driving and rest time rules in occasional passenger transport could result in more consecutive days of driving and postponement of rest, which will have a negative effect on drivers and road safety.

The policy options being reviewed by the Commission include:

  • Extension of the ‘12-days derogation’, which means that the drivers will have no weekly rest for 12 consecutive days in both domestic and international trips. This will be an extended work week, a legal and permanent circumvention of weekly rest rules.
  • Operators will be allowed to split daily breaks into 15-minute or even shorter parts distributed throughout the workday – this will result in bus and coach drivers losing their regular daily breaks
  • A 1-2 hour delay of bus & coach drivers’ daily rest period

If these proposals go through, they will prove disastrous for working conditions and the industry as a whole:

  • Less road safety
  • Increased driver shortage
  • More driver fatigue
  • Even worse working conditions

Already, driver fatigue, caused by poor working conditions, is rife in the industry.

ETF’s 2020 Driver Fatigue Study shows that 66% of the 671 bus and coach drivers who were surveyed regularly feel tired when driving. 86% of the drivers in question pointed at long working days without days off as the top cause of fatigue, 84% pointed at poor quality of sleep and 78% at work pressure as the main causes.

In recent years, thousands of bus and coach drivers have left the profession, and the EU is facing critical levels of bus driver shortage.

The shortage is not due to a lack of drivers but to poor working conditions – being a bus driver is simply not an attractive job option. Improving working conditions and pay is the only way to attract a skilled workforce back to the sector.

Changing the current driving and rest time rules will benefit neither driver nor passenger safety.

The ETF is taking action to stop any attempt by policymakers to relax the existing driving and rest time regime in road passenger transport.

 

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