ETF Unites for the Second Annual European Day Against Driver Fatigue

24 Jun 2024

Last week, on June 21st, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) hosted its second annual European Day Against Driver Fatigue. This day of action, held on the longest day of the year, continued the momentum built by the inaugural campaign in 2023, bringing attention to the critical issue of driver fatigue in the road transport sector. Coordinated with ETF affiliates across Europe, the event underscored the demanding conditions that professional drivers endure daily.

Driver fatigue, rooted in poor working conditions, remains a pervasive issue in the transport sector. An ETF’s comprehensive study, involving over 2,800 drivers across Europe, revealed alarming statistics: 66% of bus and coach drivers and 60% of truck drivers regularly feel fatigued at the wheel. Disturbingly, nearly a third admitted to falling asleep while driving in the past year. These findings highlight the urgent need for improved working conditions, including better parking and rest facilities, and a greater emphasis on work-life balance.

This year’s focus was on three pivotal areas: the scarcity of safe and adequate parking areas, the need for better rest facilities, and promoting gender inclusion in the sector. Poor rest conditions not only exacerbate fatigue but also deter women from entering the profession. “We need to address these working conditions to ensure safety and attract a more diverse workforce,” said ETF President Frank Moreels.

ETF affiliates participated through various initiatives, such as distributing informative leaflets, offering refreshments, and engaging with national authorities and employers. These actions aimed to raise awareness and prompt meaningful changes in the sector. Among the participating unions were ACV-CSC Transcom, BTB-ABVV, and CSC Services Publics/ACV Openbare Diensten in Belgium; ver.di in Germany; FILT-CGIL and Uiltrasporti in Italy; UNITE the Union in the United Kingdom; SLT in Romania; UNSA Transport in France; FTTUB in Bulgaria; Vida in Austria; CCOO in Spain; NSDS in Slovenia; LCGB in Luxembourg; and FNV in the Netherlands.

Despite a severe shortage of professional drivers in Europe, with over half a million vacancies, improvements in working conditions and wages remain elusive. The relentless pursuit of cheap labour from countries far afield exacerbates the exploitation and human trafficking issues within the industry.

The ETF calls for urgent reforms to address these systemic issues, ensuring safer roads and better lives for transport workers. The European Day Against Driver Fatigue serves as a crucial reminder of the need for collective action and solidarity to create a fair and sustainable transport sector.

Access the full study here:

Pictures of the actions will be added below, soon.