Truck Drivers to Get Fairer and Clearer Regulations in the EU

| March 11, 2019

Good news for truck drivers everywhere as new regulations come into force in the EU. At the end of 2018, the Council of the EU have agreed that they will help to improve the road transport system within the next few years and beyond. This includes improving enforcement of EU regulations, such as the use of digital tachographs, a specially enforced rule for truck drivers when using international trucks, and truck drivers’ general working conditions.

With a shortage of truck drivers, this change could not have come at a better time. These regulations will aid in keeping truck drivers safe and happy, whilst ensuring any trucking companies understand the rules that they must follow to keep their employees within the law. Failure to do so will result in fines for trucking companies.

What Have the EU Council Decided Upon?

The EU council have agreed to reform the regulations in the road transport sector. This new reform is meant to guarantee that drivers get better working conditions and hours, whilst still giving companies and services the chance to freely provide truck drivers and supplies across the borders of the EU. It has also been decided that these regulations will provide much needed clarity for the transport sector, meaning all trucking companies will have a better understanding of the regulations that must be followed.

Norbert Hofer, who is the Minister for Transport in Austria and was also President of the Council between 2013-2017, gave a statement at the end of 2018 that said: “The agreements made today are there to provide fair rules for both transport companies and their drivers. All truck drivers will greatly benefit from this change, with better conditions and hours”. Hofer also said that these rules will benefit any trucking companies who operate across different states, as they will gain a better legal certainty, putting to rest a lot of uncertainty.

Hofer was very happy to make this reform, stating that it was one of the top proposals in which the Austrian presidency wanted to address. One way in which the EU council will begin to improve enforcement of regulations is by having an improved and more reliable way for truck drivers to register when they have travelled across any border. They also want to begin to localise unloading and loading activities. A digital tachograph is one way in which the EU council can easily do this, making drivers’ roles a lot easier with a lot less worrying.

Electronic Tachographs to Be Enforced

Before 2024, any trucking vehicles that take part in international transport operations will be fitted with an electronic tachograph, making it much easier for companies to comply with regulations. In regard to cabotage, the EU council remains with the same rules, still allowing companies to operate three days a week out of seven. It will be easier and more efficient than ever before to enforce regulations and ensure that companies are sticking to these.

Tachograph rules are hard to understand for many, and therefore allowing this system to be digital will prevent a lot of mistakes and fines for companies. This will also make drivers feel safer and means they will not be coerced into breaking any regulations by their company. It also means that drivers do not have to worry about knowing all the regulations inside out, as it will all be recorded electronically and any hours that have gone over the regulations can easily be spotted.

FleetGO have designed an easy to understand tachograph rules post for companies and drivers who need to get up to speed with these regulations within the EU. This includes the maximum driving hours allowed each week and the rules on breaks. They have also designed a special tachograph that can be fitted on any and all of the trucks a company owns, meaning that all of the data will be downloaded onto one single platform. If you are a truck driver, or own your own trucking company within the EU, you can review the rules here.

Improved Working Conditions for Drivers

With these new regulations, drivers will be provided with working schedules that allow them to be home at least once a month, or allows the truck driver to take two smaller weekly rests after being on the road for a total of three weeks. This is after truck drivers complained about their hours and the amount of time they spend away from home. With women being a large demographic missing from the trucking industry, having better regulations about time spent at home could bring more females into the profession.

For drivers who want more time out of their cabin, the new regulations also state that drivers must spend their weekly rest outside of the cabin. This is yet another way to make drivers feel more comfortable and have a break from their truck. The EU reform is also there to clarify rules around posting. This means that truck drivers will benefit from earning the same amount of pay, for the same amount of work within the same place.

This rule states that if any operation has been organised in a way that involves the truck driver’s work and the country of which their establishment is based, the truck driver is automatically excluded from any posting rules. Within this exception is one additional loading or unloading permitted in both directions, meaning a driver can either do an additional one each way or two on the way there and none on the way back.

Safer and Cleaner Trucks

As well as the EU council talking about the issues around regulations and drivers’ working conditions, they are also set to provide safer and cleaner trucks for drivers. This is good news for drivers and general consumers too. The European Commission are planning to have fuel economy standards for all new trucks. By 2025, they aim for 15% of all trucks that are on the EU roads to be economical. This is also beneficial to trucking companies, who will be able to save money on fuel bills.

Reducing the fuel bills for trucking companies will strengthen the European trucking competition, meaning they will be able to cut down on prices for business and consumers. This will also reduce the amount that each trucking company is contributing to climate change. Having a trucking company that cares more for the environment is a great way to improve customer relations and bring in new drivers.

The need for fairer and clearer regulations is long overdue for truck drivers and trucking companies and these changes will aid in bringing more drivers to the role and improving safety standards. It will also make it easier for the EU to regulate and enforce their laws, meaning trucking companies will have to comply unless they want to be shut down or face a hefty fine.

These proposals from the EU council follow the first part of a mobility package which was offered by the European Commission back in Summer 2017. These texts above are not final, but the Council are looking to come to an agreement around these issues with each EU country and develop the final texts as soon as possible, to allow for a better transport system for long-haul drivers.


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