Inappropriate checking of drivers’ rest periods

The European Commission advises on the actions in case of inappropriate checking of professional drivers’ normal weekly rest periods by authorities.

The Commission investigated the issue of implementation and control practices of the ban to take the regular weekly rest in the cabin of a truck in France and in Belgium. Belgium and France confirmed to the Commission that enforcement authorities may not require the drivers to produce any evidence, such as hotel bills, proving that their regular weekly rest preceding the roadside inspection was not spent in the vehicle. The drivers can be fined for noncompliance with this prohibition only when they are caught having a weekly rest inside the vehicle at the time of the control. France and Belgium also assured the Commission that clear instructions had been given to their enforcement authorities on how the control of the weekly rest should be implemented. Should operators have been affected by inappropriate control practices, they should turn to the French and/or Belgian authorities for reimbursement of imposed fines.

The Commission response was a reaction to the Members of the European Parliament who asked for an investigation following numerous cases of inappropriate control practices by the French and Belgian authorities. In France, Belgium, and Germany, the inspection authorities were checking whether drivers did not spend their rest periods in their vehicles. However, they checked the preceding weeks in another Member State as well. Inspectors required drivers to provide confirmation of accommodation and would not accept the drivers’ statements that they spent the normal weekly rest period with relatives or in other locations outside of their cabs. Some drivers were fined between EUR 1,000 and EUR 2,250 for not having documents to prove they stayed in a hotel.