COVID-19: ETF calls for no more derogations to driving and rest time

27 May 2020

ETF addressed a letter to European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Valean, calling for no further derogations from the driving and rest hours regulation (Regulation 561/2006), beyond 31 May 2020. Furthermore, we urge the European Commission to put a stop to weekly rest in the vehicle by calling on all Member States for a reintroduction of the ban. The derogations are not needed, and the weekly rest in the vehicle is neither justified nor legal.

Currently, derogations to driving and rest time apply until May 31. Since mid-March, the ETF has been monitoring the need for the temporary relaxation of driving and rest time rules.

Already for the March-May period, the derogations were uncalled for. The economic meltdown led to many truck drivers being placed on temporary unemployment in each and every Member State. Transport needs during COVID-19 lockdown would have been perfectly met by making maximum use of the pools of local drivers while keeping the rules as they are.

Member States are slowly exiting from the lockdown and we presume that we will see an increase in domestic, followed by short-haul cross-border, and then a gradual increase in long-haul cross-border transport. However, Member States dispose of a sufficient local labour force to cope with these developments. Similarly, there is no need that justifies lifting the ban on weekly rest in the vehicle which can see drivers spend as much as up to 12 days onboard their vehicle.

To this effect, we call on the European Commission to put a stop to any further derogations to driving and rest time and to reintroduce the ban on weekly rest in the vehicle.

Moreover, the European Commission, based on the exit strategies of the Member States, should develop a prognosis on the gradual re-opening of various economic sectors, accompanied by a forecast on how transport will accompany this process. This will allow for an adequate resumption of transport activities, for both businesses and drivers, in full compliance with EU and national rules.

You may download our detailed letter on the righthand side.