European bus and coach drivers threaten to leave profession over proposed revisions to driving and rest time rules

  • February 15, 2023

80% of bus and coach drivers would consider leaving the profession if the European Union makes major changes to rules on driving and resting time, according to a survey of 1300 drivers by the European Transport Workers’ Federation.  

A public consultation on the changes under consideration for the revision of ‘occasional passenger transport’ rules by the European Commission, included several options, including allowing 12 consecutive days of driving with no day off and 45-minute breaks split into 15 minutes or less.  

Responding to the possibility of 12 consecutive days of driving, 80% of drivers indicated it would be difficult or almost impossible to guarantee the safety of their passengers. Additionally, 83% of drivers replied that this would add to fatigue and work-related stress, while 74% confirmed it would impact their health.

An ETF study on driver fatigue conducted in 2021 revealed that 66% of bus and coach drivers had to drive while fatigued on a regular basis, highlighting the poor working conditions faced by drivers in the industry. 

ETF says current driving and rest time rules have the potential to guarantee a decent work environment in road passenger transport, and there is no reason to revise the rules. The ETF urged the European Commission to reconsider its proposal, prioritising the safety of passengers and drivers alike.

Responding to the ETF survey on Twitter, Kristian Schmidt, the European coordinator for road safety, and director of land transport, said the new proposals will not entail ‘less rest’.