Coach drivers’ union criticises weaker rules on resting times

  • November 17, 2023

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) has strongly criticised new proposed rules on driving and rest times of bus and coach drivers following the decision of the European Parliament’s transport committee to support the changes earlier this month. In a protest in front of the European Commission in Brussels, ETF members from several countries spoke about the dangers of rules that they say will make driver fatigue worse.

ETF says the effect of the proposed new regulations would be to allow bus and coach drivers’ daily working hours to be increased to 16 or 17 hours, which, combined with 9 hours of rest, will lead to days of up to 26 hours. While officials argue that this change will not impinge on the mandatory minimum rest periods of nine hours, the ETF contends that such an extension is « unprecedented in the professional world and risks compromising safety and exacerbating driver shortages ».

The organisation says the changes would permit drivers who conclude a 12 consecutive day coach tour in the early hours to resume operating different transport services with little to no substantial rest.

With an already high incidence of fatigue-related concerns in the transport sector, where drivers often get just five to six hours of actual rest during consecutive 12-day driving stints, the ETF warns that the new rules may heighten the risk of collisions due to driver fatigue.

ETF and ETSC have said that the key to addressing driver shortages in the transport sector is improving working conditions.

ETF says it will plan protests across Europe to contest the changes.