Drivers’ weekly rest period of 45 hours must soon be spent elsewhere than in the truck.
The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) came to the conclusion that weekly rest taken in the vehicle by professional drivers violates the EU driving and rest time regulation (561/2006). Usually, the ECJ follows the opinion of the Advocate General in its decisions.
The lawsuit concerns measures taken by the Belgian authorities in 2014 against companies forcing their drivers to spend their 45 hours rest in the vehicle cabin. France has implemented a similar regulation.
In general, the European Commission (EC) intends to clarify the rules on weekly rest periods as part of the road initiative. Future rules are expected to specify the conditions to be provided by road transport operators for 45-hour rest. It is not unlikely that the regulation will require a hotel or motel room with individual sanitary facilities and access to hot meals.
Meanwhile, as the EC road initiative procedure is taking too long from the perspective of the German government, a legislative initiative has been drafted in Germany. The draft law includes a fine if “the weekly rest period is spent in the vehicle or at some other place without suitable sleeping arrangements”.
However, it is currently still unclear how heavy the fine will be and what will be seen as “suitable sleeping arrangements”.
Source: ECJ; EU directive 561/2006; draft of § 8a Driving Personnel Act