Drivers traveling in trucks and trucks must observe driving breaks so as to protect their own health and safety and that of other vehicles on the road.
The hours of truck driving must be limited and provide for stops, it is not possible to drive continuously, the driver is obliged to stop during the trip to rest, following the regulation imposed by the relevant law.
Let’s find out what rules related to the driving and rest times truck drivers must strictly observe during the day and week.
The provisions and obligations are found in EC No. 561/2006, which defines driving and rest times for all drivers and truckers.
In addition, the European Parliament approved the First Mobility Package on trucking, which introduces significant changes on driving and rest times designed to ensure a better balance between social and working conditions.
What the law says about driving and rest times
The regulation is applied for truck drivers engaged in road freight transport with vehicles of MTT over 35 tons and road transport with vehicles such as buses carrying more than 9 people, including the driver.
Regardless of the country of vehicle registration, regulations on driving and resting hours are valid throughout the European Union, among EU countries, Switzerland and those countries in the European Economic Area Agreement.
Thus, all truck drivers and drivers in Europe must drive for a maximum limit of hours specified by the relevant law and follow daily and weekly rest periods, failure to comply with these obligations will result in fines and deduction of points on the license.
Daily and weekly driving and rest hours
During a 9-hour workday, the truck driver must take a break from driving after 4.5 hours for 45 minutes, which can also be divided into two shorter breaks but the first one must always be 15 minutes. The second 30-minute break.
During the week, if you use the extended driving time coming to 10 hours, which is only possible twice in 7 days, you are required to make two stops.
In one week, you cannot accumulate more than 56 hours of truck driving, and in two weeks, it must not be more than 90 hours.
In the First Mobility Package, regarding the mandatory truck driving hours in international trucking, it says that with 90 hours of driving in 2 weeks, truckers can take 2 reduced rest periods for the next two weeks, so 24 hours instead of 45 hours.
Provided that in the third week, two rest periods of 21 hours each are taken to compensate and these periods are linked to a weekly rest at home.
The daily hours of rest
During a day it is possible to take 11 hours of rest and 13 hours of driving, or, take two rests, one of 3 hours and one of 9 hours (not reversible), out of 15 hours of driving. In this case it is referred to as fractional rest. You can also take rest of 9 for 3 times during the week (reduced rest).
The hours of rest over 2 weeks
Out of two weeks the truck driving hours law provides two 45-hour rests, or, one 45-hour rest and one 24-hour rest. In the following week in which there was reduced rest, one must compensate with an additional 9 hours of rest.
Hours of rest with 2 drivers
When there are 2 drivers inside the vehicle, it is referred to as multi-presence driving, a very common practice among truck drivers, especially on long stretches. The two drivers can swap places: the driver who has been driving for 4 1/2 hours must stop for 45 minutes; if the second driver has been actively assisting, then he too must take a break and the vehicle must stop.
If the second driver has rested for the full 4 1/2 hours, he/she can take the driver’s seat and it will not be necessary to stop the vehicle.
With multi-presence driving there is the advantage of being able to drive for up to 18 consecutive hours, but drivers must still take continuous rest and cannot, equally, drive for more than 56 hours per week and over the course of 2 consecutive weeks, exceed 90 hours of driving.
In vehicles with multi-presence driving, the tachograph and driver card of both are used to report driving and rest hours.