The European Commission recently launched an initiative to assess the specific driving and rest time rules for bus and coach drivers. In its reply, the ETF was crystal clear: the EU must keep the legal framework on driving and rest time rules in bus and coach as it is. Any changes would fail to improve working conditions in the sector and negatively impact the safety of drivers, passengers, and all other road users. Instead, Europe needs to address the issues that currently plague the industry.
The dangerously high levels of driver fatigue in the bus and coach sector are just one of these issues. ETF’s recent research on the topic found that this is mainly due to long workers hours and drivers’ precarious working conditions. The most counter-effective measure against this is sleep. Any extension of working and driving hours in bus and coach would further deteriorate road safety for passengers and users, and drivers’ working conditions.
Coupled with driver fatigue are the issues of unfriendly work schedules, inadequate rest, and weekends away from home combined with poor pay levels that have made the sector unattractive for job seekers. These poor working conditions have created a demographic problem where there will soon be no one to replace the current workforce that is inching closer to retirement.
If the European Commission truly wishes to address the needs of bus and coach drivers then it needs to focus on the root causes of these problems and find solutions. Only through concrete action can they support the sector in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and create a more resilient, sustainable, and attractive industry.
ETF affiliates from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Norway, France and Finland have all said NO to changes in driving and rest time.
Our feedback to the initiative can be downloaded at your right.