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New EU rules tell truck drivers to work less, take more breaks

(BRUSSELS) - New EU-wide regulations came into force on Wednesday restricting the working week for lorry and coach drivers and requiring longer rest stops.

Among the new measures is an obligatory rest of at least 45 consecutive hours every two weeks and a working week of no more than 60 hours, including loading and unloading.

"The application of the new social rules is an important milestone for Europe's road transport sector," said EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot.

"This is clearly a win-win situation: the drivers will enjoy important social advances, the transport companies will compete on equal grounds and all road users will benefit from better safety."

The new rules, adopted by EU member states and the European Parliament in 2005, amends 1985 legislation which allowed a 74-hour driving week for professional drivers.

Now, over a four-month period drivers mustn't work more than 48 hours a week on average.

Minimum rest times are fixed at 11 hours per day, including nine hours consecutively.

Drivers must also take a total of 45 minutes rest for every four and a half hours of driving.

The rules are a minimum requirement and member states are free to impose further restrictions.

They are aimed at "increasing road safety and ensuring adequate social standards in a profession characterised by fierce competition," the European Commission said in a statement.

The binding rules apply, irrespective of the country where the vehicles are registered.

Further information on EU road transport policy

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