The European Commission today proposed to adapt EU rules on breaks and rest periods for drivers to better reflect the nature of occasional bus and coach services. Drivers in this sector have a different work rhythm compared to those in freight or regular passenger transport due to high seasonality and varying driving distances depending on passengers’ tourist activities.

The Commission is therefore proposing to allow bus and coach drivers providing such occasional services to distribute their breaks and rest periods more flexibly. In addition, the proposal aims to ensure that international and domestic occasional passenger transport operations are treated equally.

The proposal includes new rules regarding:

  • Breaks: drivers will be allowed to split their breaks (of a minimum of 45 minutes for 4.5 hours of driving) into two periods of a minimum of 30 and 15 minutes, or into three periods of a minimum of 15 minutes each. This will help them to take breaks more flexibly and at convenient times. Current rules only allow drivers to split these 45-minute breaks into 15 minutes first and 30 minutes later (but not the other way around).
  • Daily rest periods: drivers will be allowed to postpone the start of their daily rest period by one hour when the total daily driving period for that day does not exceed seven hours, or postpone it by two hours when the total daily driving period does not exceed five hours. These derogations will only be possible once during a trip of eight days or more. The new rules will not change the duration of the regular daily rest period, which remains at a minimum of 11 consecutive hours within 24 hours.
  • Weekly rest periods: the rules for international occasional passenger transport services that take place solely within a single country will be aligned with the rules for international services, allowing drivers to postpone the weekly rest period for up to 12 consecutive days. This is already possible for international occasional passenger transport, to the disadvantage of operators of domestic services. The conditions to use this ‘12-day derogation’ remain the same: the driver has to take a regular weekly rest period before the trip (min. 45 hours) and two weekly rest periods after the trip.

The Commission’s proposal does not introduce any changes to the minimum duration of breaks or rest periods, nor to maximum driving times. It seeks to guarantee efficient and high-quality occasional passenger transport services and improve working conditions for drivers, and in particular to minimise their stress and fatigue.

Source: European Commission