Being a truck driver is more of a lifestyle choice than a job: full days and nights traveling nonstop, delivery schedules to meet, and very long periods away from home. Although it is a profession that enjoys a great many advantages, it is easy to understand that rest takes on paramount importance in this context. Because of the hours of driving and the routes that are not always easy, the truck driver needs continuous breaks, sometimes different from the natural biorhythms of humans.
But where do truck drivers sleep, and what constraints do those in this complex profession have to comply with?
Truck driver’s rest: what does the legislation tell us?
Driver safety and security regulations detail the breaks that each truck driver must take while on the road.
A truck driver’s work week begins on Monday at midnight and ends the following Sunday at midnight. Over the course of two weeks, the driver must take two weekly rest periods of 45 hours each. Therefore, a weekly rest of 45 hours is required after 6 working days.
What about along the way? After the 4 1/2 hours of driving, a 45-minute stop is mandatory for the truck driver. The break can be divided into a 15-minute break and a 30-minute break.
On the other hand, if the work period reaches 6 hours, a break period of at least 30 minutes must follow. After 9 hours of work, breaks should be at least 45 minutes. The work break can be divided into breaks of 15 minutes each.
It is strictly forbidden to engage in any professional activity during these time frames.
For more details, it is useful to consult the ordinance for OLR1 drivers.
Truck driver’s stops: where is it possible to sleep?
Once we have broadly analyzed rest times and the constraints placed by law, it is useful to understand where the driver can actually relax and sleep.
The European Court of Justice debated the issue for a long time, eventually arriving at an absolute ban on 48-hour weekly cabin rest.
For those who do not know, the cabin is where the driver spends most of his or her time. The size and comfort of this area of the truck are especially important, both for safety and for the driver’s well-being.
Many cabs are equipped with a bed that allows the driver to rest without being separated from his vehicle, which often represents a true home for the truck driver.
Today, with a ruling of the European Court of Justice implemented by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, it is stipulated that truck drivers can no longer take their weekly rest in the cab, but in designated facilities.In practice, the break must be taken by the driver in his or her own abode or in hotels adjacent to the route.
Penalties for those who do not comply with the new road safety law are very steep, reaching nearly 2,000 euros. This EU legislation goes in the direction of improving drivers’ sleep hygiene and road safety for all.
Therefore, to answer the initial question, truck drivers can sleep yes in their cabins, but not during the scheduled weekly rest period.
In this case, it is useful for the truck driver to set up arrangements with accommodations or to return to his or her home in case it is close to the work areas.