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New EU Regulations Will harm European Coach Touring

European coach tour operators are alarmed at the impact of new regulations on…

European coach tour operators are alarmed at the impact of new regulations on hours that coach drivers will be allowed to work, if new draft legislation from the European Parliament and the Council is approved.



The proposed legislation will reduce the maximum driving time for professional drivers. At present they can drive for up to 74 hours a week. If the new law comes into force, no professional driver in Europe will be allowed to drive for more than 56 hours a week. This adds to recent EU regulations that limit the working time for professional drivers to an average of 48 hours a week over a four-month period.



Other measures include an obligatory minimum daily rest of 11 hours (instead of the present 8 hours), an obligatory rest of at least 45 consecutive hours every two weeks and a 24 hour rest every six days. This would remove a degree of flexibility known as the Twelve Day Rule, whereby drivers can take their rest at the beginning of one week and at the end of the following week, thus giving them up to twelve consecutive days on the road.



This last measure will be particularly harmful for drivers of extended coach tours. Hitherto they have been able to take their rest periods at home: tours had been devised to enable them to work for twelve days and then return home for their break. Now they will have to use their rest periods whilst travelling.



Tom Jenkins, Executive Director, European Tour Operators Association, said: “Coach companies already have difficulties with recruitment and retention of drivers. The cause is not the amount of work the drivers have to do, but the time they have to spend away from their families. As drivers will now have to take their “rest” days on the road, this measure effectively halves their home leave. As a piece of “social” legislation it is savagely counterproductive.”



“Coach holidays are already the safest and least polluting method of conducting visitors. These measures harm the workers, increase the cost, reduce the flexibility of a tour and add substantial logistical problems. It thus encourages customers to use less safe and more polluting modes of transport: a triumph of legislative fecklessness.”

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