HGV drivers have already been part of one of the professional groups which were most affected by the liberalisation efforts at EU level. And now the European Parliament is making things even worse: MEPs voting in the Transport Committee in the European Parliament agreed on a passage which results in the fact that by using the new digital control devices it is no longer possible to monitor rest periods of HGV drivers. It is now impossible to control whether HGV drivers comply with the statutory rest periods, and the danger that overtired HGV drivers are driving on European roads continues to increase.
However, the draft proposal clearly names the objectives, namely social legislation relating to road transport, improving road safety and the working conditions for drivers. European as well as national labour representatives, among them the Chamber of Labour, pointed out right at the start of the negotiations that the digital control device had to record both driving time and rest periods. Though the draft report by the competent MEP Sylvia Ţicău of the Social Democrats had already covered this issue, MEPs have now made a U-turn: in a compromise proposal, which was supported by the European People’s Party, the Social Democrats, the Liberals and the Greens among other, the representatives are now in favour of automatically rating periods for which no activities have been recorded as break or resting period. That means that activities such as loading and unloading, administrative activities at head office and similar work is automatically regarded as resting period. Apart from that, the Transport Committee opposed the idea that irregularities in respect of driving time and rest periods may not be used in case of remote communication.

The report adopted in the Transport Committee must now be debated and voted on in the Plenum. Hence, there is still a chance that MEPs will put the emergency brakes on and change the wording in the interest of employees and ultimately also of road safety. At least the Council has set a positive example and dispensed with such a formulation.