Shortage of facilities leads lorry drivers to break resting time laws

Shortage of facilities leads lorry drivers to break resting time laws
Credit: Belga

Two-thirds of lorry drivers checked during a control action by police were in violation of the law obliging them to take long breaks, meaning they are going behind the wheel tired.

On Whit Monday, the police and inspection services conducted major checks, mainly focused on compliance with the working and living conditions of the drivers. Of the 153 lorries on the parking lot in Zeebrugge during the check, a total of 101 infringements were found regarding the weekly rest of the drivers.

In Belgium, truck drivers are obliged to take a break of at least 45 minutes on a regular basis. During these breaks, drivers must leave their vehicle. However, Monday's checks found that, in practice, drivers are often unable to find an alternative resting place, such as a hotel or flat.

"They then spend their weekend resting in the cabin of their vehicle, or in car parks where there are not the necessary facilities (sufficient sanitary facilities, showers, kitchen, comfortable resting place, etc.)," a federal police statement read.

Other violations of the law

In addition to the more than 100 infringements on the obligatory resting times, the police also recorded 32 infringements of the obligation to return, which states that lorries must return to their country of origin at least every eight weeks. In practice, this rule is also often breached.

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This means that transport companies based in other European countries and have their vehicles registered there can operate for weeks or months on end only abroad, without returning to the country of registration.

In addition, various drivers were found to have falsified various documents. In total, €189,400 in fines were issued during the checks, mostly with regard to the transport company (and therefore not to drivers themselves). One person was arrested for illegal employment.

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