New provisions regarding driving time and rest periods applicable in Belgium and France
In Belgium, the fines for infringements regarding driving time and rest periods have considerably increased with immediate effect. Operators of HGVs spending their 45 hours‘ weekend rest period in their vehicle run the risk of having to pay a fine of 1,800.—Euro, which must be paid immediately, even if the vehicle disposes of the corresponding equipment (bed). The „long weekend rest period“ must be taken once a week - at the latest after a six days‘journey.
The weekend rest period must be at least 45 successive hours and should be spent in an apartment or in a hotel, in favour of road safety. Exception: If necessary, the weekly rest period may be limited to 24 successive hours. However, the difference in time relating to the prescribed total of 45 hours must be taken in addition to the regular weekly rest period, or must be combined with the daily rest period before the end of the third week.
Similar measures are planned in France. In the future, drivers who – contrary to the legal provisions – spend their mandatory weekly rest period in their HGV might have to pay a fine of up to 30,000 Euro and, at the worst, can be sentenced to one year prison. At the moment, it is not quite clear whether the shortened rest period can be excluded from this provision or not.
In both countries, these measures are meant to fight social dumping in the road haulage buisness and to improve competition in the transport business.
Please also consult the information published by specialised media and transport associations.