The Road Haulage Association has expressed concern over the extent of the relaxation of the enforcement of drivers’ hours rules in relation to the chaos at Calais.
The Association welcomes a degree of relaxation of enforcement under the current circumstances but the announcement form the Department for Transport goes too far. It will be welcomed by neither responsible haulage companies nor their drivers.
It also agrees with the department’s statement that drivers should not drive whilst tired. The extension of the driving day to 11 hours on its own would have been proportionate and welcome. The extension of the driving day plus the curtailment of the daily rest period is ill-judged and likely to lead to the exploitation of hauliers and their drivers and a reduction in road safety.
However, the RHA is concerned by a lack of detail regarding the announcement and seeks a statement of re-assurance that the relaxation will be respected in practice by enforcement across Europe, without which hauliers run the risk of substantial fines. It is also puzzled by the enforceability of the provision regarding vehicles distributing in Kent and by the qualification that the vehicle must have its operating centre in the county.