Mid-August 2015, halfway into the summer heatwave, Solidarnosc ran a survey on rest conditions among 650 Polish drivers. The outcome was shocking. None of the 650 drivers were given any possibility to spend their daily or weekly rest away from the lorry. Only 12 of the 650 drivers participating in the survey had a cabin equipped with air conditioning. However, the air conditioning function was… disabled. 97% of the 650 drivers declared that the cabin temperature at the start of the rest time was between 39 degrees Celsius and 45 degrees Celsius, persisting at this level long into the rest period.
Many Polish drivers engaged in long-haul transport are on the road for weeks and sometimes even months. Their rest facilities are simply inhuman. They spend almost the entire day in the cabin. Cost-cutting measures taken by road transport operators leave them with no option than to sleep consecutive nights and week-ends on cramp bunk-beds no larger than 750 cms stuck just behind their driver seat, in a poor climate lacking fresh air and optimum temperature for rest. Poor quality of rest leads to fatigue and consequently to road accidents. This contrasts with the objectives of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 whose three stated objectives are: road safety, driver’s health and safety and fair competition!
“As rest in the lorry is spreading out and affects more and more drivers, we expect the European Commission and the EU Member States to put an end to this, to step in and enforce the driving and rest time regulation in an adequate way. Solidarnosc joins forces with the ETF and calls for the proper enforcement of rest time rules across Europe.” said Tadeusz Kucharski, President of Solidarnosc Road Section.