Due to further questions asked about the new regulations which were put into force in August 2020, the European Commission have prepared and published the official commentary on the interpretation of regulations on the drivers’ drive time and rest periods. This explanation is to help carriers and drivers comply with the regulations of the Mobility Package.
The commentary of the European Commission Part I
At the beginning of this year the first interpretation of the Mobility Package regulations was published in the form of Q&As, this included 12 problem areas. Unfortunately this information does not answer the questions fully and there are still questions that rise in the transport industry. Therefore the European Commission have declared to regularly publish next commentaries to help road carriers interpret the binding law.
The commentary of the European Commission Part II
The next part of the commentary includes 16 questions which have been published in the English language. At this moment we lack these guidelines in other official languages, which will be certainly submitted in the near future. It is worth underlining that this document is not binding and the Court of Justice of the European Union is the body competent to issue final interpretations of EU law. The European Commission are still working on the new commentaries which will be gradually completed and published.
The following provisions should be considered carefully:
1. RETURN OF THE DRIVER TO THE OPERATIONAL CENTRE OR TO THE PLACE OF RESIDENCE
The point 8a of the Article 8 of the Regulation no. 561/2006: ‘Transport undertakings shall organise the work of drivers in such a way that the drivers are able to return to the employer’s operational centre where the driver is normally based and where the driver’s weekly rest period begins, in the Member State of the employer’s establishment, or to return to the drivers’ place of residence, within each period of four consecutive weeks’.
One should note that the ‘operational centre’ has not been defined in EU road transport regulations. The European Commission explains that this is a place where the driver is normally based and his work is organised and where the driver’s weekly rest period begins. This is a place where the driver regularly returns to, in the Member State, to the real and permanent place where the employer runs his business. The place is where the undertaker possesses his premises and where he keeps his accounting books and personnel documentation. If the company is established in several Member States, the driver should return to the operational centre where he is usually based.
2. COMPENSATION FOR TWO REDUCED WEEKLY RESTS
Reduced weekly rests, two in a row, should be compensated before the end of the period of 6×24 hours, before a regular weekly rest begins.
3. DRIVER WORKING ON HIS OWN ACCOUNT
The driver is not allowed to take a regular weekly rest period in the vehicle cabin. The European Commission indicates that the main purpose is to prevent drivers’ tiredness and to reduce threats for the road safety.
One should note that point 8a of the Article 8, which regulates the relations between the employed drivers and employers in the area of organising drivers’ return home every four consecutive weeks, does not apply to the drivers working on their own account,
4. RECORDING LOAD AND UNLOAD ACTIVITIES
The second version of smart tachographs will be additionally fitted with a new function of automatic recording of the vehicle location while loading and unloading. The location recording will be the duty of the driver who will have to indicate the activity of loading or unloading or the simultaneous activity of loading/unloading or unloading/loading. This activity will be manually entered via the tachograph menu.
5. DELEGATING DRIVERS AND THE MOBILITY PACKAGE
One of the vital issues which the transport undertakings will have to consider is the changes in the new regulations on delegating drivers. The regulations will be put into force in February 2022. More about this new law in the article: The Mobility Package and the change in the regulations on delegating drivers.
The above-mentioned issues are not the only ones raised by the European Commission. More information is placed at the official site of the Commission.
The Author of the article:
Transport Industry Expert