Until the end of September, Poland will have extended working time limits for drivers. They are intended to help maintain the smooth supply of goods in connection with the war in Ukraine and EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus.
We wrote recently that according to the IRU, the number of unfilled driver positions in the European Union has increased by 42% in the last year. Only in Poland it means a shortage of approx. 80,000 drivers! Such shortages must affect the situation of the transport industry, and thus also other branches of the economy.
EXTENSION OF WORKING TIME
Extending the limits of drivers’ working time until the end of September is to avoid a situation in which the shortages of transport possibilities would result in stoppages in transport. The new rules mean:
• extension of the maximum permissible daily driving time from 9 hours to 11 hours (derogation from Art. 6 (1) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006);
• extension of the maximum permissible weekly driving time from 56 hours to a maximum of 60 hours (derogation from Art. 6 (2) of the above mentioned Regulation);
• extension of the maximum permissible two-week driving time from 90 hours to a maximum of 96 hours (derogation from Art. 6 (3) of the above mentioned Regulation);
• extension of the maximum driving time, after which a break of 45 minutes is required, from 4 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours and 30 minutes (derogation from Art. 7 of the above mentioned Regulation);
• the possibility for the driver to spend a regular weekly rest period in the vehicle, as long as he has a suitable sleeping berth for each driver and is stationary (derogation from Art. 8 (8) of the above mentioned Regulation).
STOPGAP OR FLEXIBILITY?
What do such changes mean for the transport industry? We actually gain a bit of flexibility. The changes are not supposed to be big, but when the drivers run out of these several dozen minutes to prove the goods before the pause, the entire schedule of further journeys is postponed. It is not, however, that after the announcement of temporary changes in transport companies, champagne corks popped.
In fact, this relaxation of the rules does not solve any of the major problems.
– The application of temporary derogations must not deteriorate the working conditions of drivers and the level of road safety. Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users. Therefore, situations in which the driver will drive the vehicle when he is tired should not be allowed, the government website says.
This important clarification shows that it is not now the case that longer journeys are becoming standard. You can go a bit longer once or twice, if the situation requires it. As a rule, however, it is impossible to significantly increase the transport performance without increasing the number of cars and drivers.
No wonder that our fleet is constantly growing, and our ranks are joined by new drivers. This year alone, we plan to increase the number of cars in our colors by 60%! Thanks to such activities, our clients can rest easy and not worry about the changing situation on the transport market.