Driving Hours and Rest Time Rules

Until now, EU rules on driving and rest time applicable to coach tourism drivers (occasional services) have mirrored those for the road haulage industry.

In May 2023, the European Commission proposed changes to some rules specifically for coach tourism drivers. Following compromise amendments to these changes tabled by the lead rapporteur of the file, the European Parliament’s plenary supported by the Parliament’s transport committee approved the compromise amendments in December 2023. 

The key changes proposed (compromise amendments) are:

Weekly Rest Period: Possibility to postpone the weekly rest period for up to 12 days on national occasional services (i.e. 12-day rule to be applicable to a single country tour as is currently the case for multi-country tours).

Daily Breaks: Option to split the 45-minute break into 2 breaks of at least 15 mins (i.e. 20 and 25 mins would be permitted as well as 15 and 30 mins).

Daily Rest Period: Possibility to postpone the start of daily rest period once by at most 1 hour on tours of at least 6 days’ duration, provided that the total driving time on that day does not exceed 7 hours.

Journey Forms: Paper journey forms (waybills) to become digital and uploaded to a multi-lingual interface developed by the European Commission.

The European Council’s proposals are broadly the same as the key changes proposed above, although differ slightly on daily rest period.

Negotiations between the European Commission, Parliament and Council to agree the changes to become law are set to start on 29 January 2024. Current indication is that the new rules are expected second half of 2024.

UK operations

Currently the UK follows the EU’s rules. However, the proposed changes above once agreed and become law require separate UK approval to apply in the UK.