Do not forget: Breaks are important

Violations of driving and rest times burden reputation and budget

While compliance with other regulations, such as cabotage, is currently attracting more attention, the control of driving and rest times remains an important sanctioning instrument for transport companies on the part of the state. In this article, we will raise your awareness of one of the perennial issues in the management and life of drivers.

In view of the ever interdependent spheres of politics, business and logistics, the cabotage regulations in particular have recently come increasingly into the focus of considerations on road haulage. This applies both to media reporting and to reviews of the situation on the roads, for example in Germany by the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG). During the nationwide focus checks carried out by the BAG in March, one of the main focuses was on checking the respective countries of origin of the carriers.

However, the authorities have by no means forgotten another top issue in the day-to-day life of professional drivers: compliance with the legally regulated driving and rest times. During the above-mentioned spot checks, the inspectors found that almost 40 drivers had not complied with the regular weekly rest periods.

Driving personnel law online at the BAG

Just as the rules in many other areas of logistics have evolved in an increasingly complex world - also taking into account the framework provisions of the European Single Market - the law on driving personnel has also become a comprehensive set of obligations for companies and drivers. On a sub-page of its website, the BAG provides a collection of links to the most important legal provisions on the one hand, and summarizes the most important regulations for driving personnel law on the other. Looking at these regulations, it becomes clear why people often talk about regular weekly rest periods. In order to ensure flexibility, it is possible, for example, to reduce the prescribed 45-hour rest periods per week to 24 hours. However, drivers must then take the 21 missing hours in the previous week or the week after in addition to the 45 hours from the compensation week.

In an exchange between the Bundestag and the Ministry of Finance that has so far been published only in a German trade medium, a further increase in violations of the law on driving personnel was noted for the 1st half of 2021 compared with the previous year. The non-observance of rest periods as well as the exceeding of driving time rules and the neglect of necessary breaks in driving (vulgo: breaks) form a focal point of the violations of the law recorded there. Regardless of what the final published figures of the FOPH for 2021 will look like, these surveys seem to confirm one thing: It has not yet sunk in everywhere that the state will continue to look closely here. And that, in addition to the company's coffers, the brand name also suffers as a result of such avoidable errors.

Safety as the highest good

Since the FOPH referred in its press release on the March inspections mentioned at the beginning of this article to identical actions of this kind in the remainder of 2022, this issue should continue to be given the necessary care by carriers in the future. In an industry desperately seeking dedicated, capable and long-term loyal personnel, carriers with their own high standards of excellent rule-compliant operations stand out from their less solid competitors.

This is because it is always necessary to take into account the consequences of overtired truck drivers, who are therefore less able to react, which go beyond the heavy burden on reputation and budget. The resulting accidents - especially those involving personal injury, which are often fatal due to the force exerted by the large trucks - otherwise result in losses that cannot be measured due to their immaterial extent, but which can never be paid off.

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