Temporary exemptions to driving times and rest periods due to coronavirus situation
On 26 March 2020, the Government decided to issue a decree on extending the driving times and shortening the rest periods of drivers of buses and heavy goods transport vehicles by road due to the coronavirus situation. The purpose of the Decree is to ensure domestic goods transport and society’s security of supply.
According to the Decree, the exemption would be applied to road transport from 27 March to 25 April 2020 allowing to shorten the daily rest period of drivers to 9 hours and weekly rest period to 24 hours. The Government also proposes that the required minimum rest period of 45 minutes be allowed to be more freely split into periods of 15 and 30 minutes within a period of four and a half hours.
In normal situations, the maximum daily driving time is no more than 9–10 hours so that a break of at least 45 minutes must be taken after four and a half hours of driving. The maximum driving time per week is 56 hours and for a two-week period 90 hours. The driving times do not include the time used for loading and other similar work.
“In emergency conditions, flexibility is needed, provided that it does not endanger road safety or the health of drivers. I would like experess my thanks to the representatives of the employees and employers who have worked together in order to ensure transports also during the corona crisis. It is essential that goods and freight transport flows continue to be as smooth as possible,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.
Provisions on the driving times and rest periods of drivers of buses and heavy goods transport vehicles are laid down in the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council. By notifying the Commission, Member States may grant exemptions from the application of EU regulations in exceptional circumstances. The exemptions may not last more than 30 days.
In Europe, exemptions have already been introduced by Norway, Denmark and Sweden, for example.
Olli-Pekka Rantala, Director General, tel. +358 295 34 2585, Twitter @op_rantala
Sini Wirén, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2532, Twitter @Wirensini