Truck driving time

The working time, and more particularly the driving time of truck drivers, is very tightly controlled. The distribution of driving times and break times is well defined, both by European regulations and by the French labor code. Compliance with the regulations is important for the employer, but also for the driver. Failure to comply with the rules is all too often the cause of serious accidents. Let’s take stock of the obligations of professionals regarding the driving time of heavy goods vehicles.

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HGV driving time regulations

The regulations concerning HGV driving time are shared between European laws, the French labor code, the transport code and the national collective agreement for road transport and auxiliary transport activities.

Regulation EC n°561/2006 of March 15, 2006 defines the driving, break and rest times for road transport on European territory. It applies to drivers of vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes.

The transport code contains several articles dedicated to road transport:

  • Directive 2002/15/EC of March 11, 2002: concerns the organization of the working time of heavy goods vehicle drivers.
  • Articles related to decree n°83-40 of January 26, 1983: modification since January 1, 2017 of the regulations related to working hours in road transport companies.

Finally, when no article of the European regulations or the transport code makes it possible to manage a situation or a particular case, the labor code applies.

 

Service time definition

Service time is a concept related to road transport. The service time takes into account the periods during which the driver’s activity is reduced. It is therefore time spent in the service of the employer and not only driving time.

The transport code defines in article D 3312.45 the duration of service time depending on the type of activity:

  • Long-haul truckers: 43 hours per week / 559 hours per quarter. Any driver who spends at least 6 days off per month outside his home is identified as a “long-distance trucker”.
  • Courier drivers and cash couriers: 35 hours per week / 455 hours per quarter.
  • Other truck drivers: 39 hours per week / 507 hours per quarter.

 

Service time specifics

The service time is defined in number of hours per week or per quarter. The Transport Code also determines the distribution of these hours so that the driver can reserve appropriate driving and rest times.

Maximum duration

Article D 3312-51 of the transport code sets the daily limit of service time at 12 hours. Article 9 of amended Decree No. 83-40, however, allows this period to be temporarily extended in the event of urgent work. In this case, the extension of the service time can be:

  • 8 hours per week if the work concerns safety measures, safeguards or repairs in the event of accidents occurring at installations or buildings.
  • 6 hours per week in the case of vehicle repairs, the daily duration of service not being able to exceed 14 hours.

The labor inspectorate must imperatively be informed of any temporary extension of service time.

 

Driving time and break

EC Regulation No. 561/2006 of March 15, 2006 defines the following obligations for heavy goods vehicle drivers over 3.5 tonnes:

  • Weekly driving time limited to 56 hours or 90 hours spread over two consecutive weeks.
  • Daily driving time limited to 9 hours or 10 hours twice a week.
  • Obligation to take a 45-minute break after 4.5 hours of driving. This break may be split into two, one of at least 15 minutes and the other of at least 30 minutes.

Article L 3312-2 of the transport code specifies the terms and conditions for breaks for rolling staff:

  • Prohibition to work more than 6 consecutive hours without taking a break.
  • A break of at least 30 minutes is compulsory for a work period of 6 to 9 hours.
  • A break of at least 45 minutes is compulsory for a work period of more than 9 hours.

Breaks may be split but must not be less than 45 minutes in length.

 

Night work

Night work in road transport corresponds to the period from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The daily duty time of a driver who performs part of his work between midnight and 5 a.m. cannot exceed 10 hours.

truck driving time

daily rest

The daily rest regulations divide truck drivers into two categories.

Drivers subject to EC regulation n°561/2006 (vehicles over 3.5 tonnes)

The normal rest period must consist of a period lasting at least 11 hours. It can be divided into a 3 hour period and a 9 hour period.

In the event of reduced rest time, it must consist of a period which can range from a minimum of 9 hours to 11 hours. It is not possible to take a reduced rest period more than three times between two weekly rest periods.

Drivers not subject to EC regulation n°561/2006 (vehicles under 3.5 tonnes)

The normal rest period must contain a period of 10 consecutive hours during the 24 hours preceding their taking up duty.

 

Weekly rest

Similarly, truck drivers are divided into two categories.

Drivers subject to EC regulation n°561/2006 (vehicles over 3.5 tonnes)

The weekly rest period is 45 hours. Weekly rest can be reduced to 9 p.m. for two consecutive weeks. A rest compensation equivalent to the 24 hours missing must then be granted during the third week.

Drivers not subject to EC regulation n°561/2006 (vehicles under 3.5 tonnes)

The weekly rest period is 48 hours. This period may be divided into several rest periods without, however, being less than 35 hours.

 

To conclude on truck driving time

The working time and driving time of lorry drivers is highly regulated. If the trucks are more and more comfortable, the driver must fulfill many other tasks, such as tarping and uncovering for example. A manual tarp system generally represents a loss of time for the driver, handling and additional fatigue.

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